Source: PHIT America

Silver Spring, MD - January 17, 2013 - This month, leading sports and fitness industry companies and organizations, as well as other corporate partners, will launch PHIT America, a year-round, educational, advocacy, and social media marketing campaign designed to reach millions of Americans. PHIT America will combat the obesity and sedentary activity crisis -- which is having an adverse effect on health care costs in the U.S. -- by promoting new legislation and grassroots programs that will help get Americans more active, playing more sports, getting fit and becoming healthier.

PHIT America is a new non-profit which has 118 Alliance Sponsors including eight 'Founders,' which initially started this campaign. The 'Founders' include ACTIVE Network, American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Didgebridge, Midtown Athletic Clubs, National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), Sears, Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), and the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

NSGA and SFIA were among the first organizations to join the PHIT America Alliance as a 'Founders.' Matt Carlson, NSGA President and CEO, and Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO, agree there are many reasons why this new non-profit campaign is so important. "We realize a key to our industry is to grow sports and fitness participation. And, we also know increasing fitness levels will reduce health care costs. PHIT America will increase the number of Americans who are active, fit and healthy. We also have legislation in Congress that will help America get active and fit which will also benefit our industry. PHIT America is a 'win-win' opportunity for America and our industry."

PHIT America has a robust consumer website -- www.PHITAmerica.org -- which covers topics including the obesity and sedentary crisis, benefits of being active and playing sports, why physical education is so important, ways to get active and healthy, and the U.S. legislation that PHIT America is supporting. Starting in late January, PHIT America will work with its 118 Alliance Sponsors by asking them to send 2-3 'News Flashes' a month about various important topics. These 'News Flashes' will link to PHITAmerica.org, where there will be three main 'calls to action:'

1. Advocate - We will encourage Americans to email their Members of Congress using our online tool to encourage them to pass key legislation (The PHIT Act and The PEP Program) that will help Americans become more active, play more sports, and become healthier. The PHIT Act, when passed, will allow Americans to use Pre-Tax Medical Accounts to pay for physical activity expenses. The PHIT Act will directly help the sports and fitness industry!

2. Participate - Americans will find it easy to get active and fit using PHITAmerica.org. Our Participation Database is the 'online yellow pages' of ways to get active or fit in local communities for more than 50 sports or activities. This will be the largest database ever assembled and will be a great tool for Americans to use time and time again. The leaders of the sports and fitness industry should refer their consumer contacts to this database.

3. Donate - We will ask Americans to give to our cause. When Americans donate, the vast majority of these funds will be invested as grants to support local sports grassroots and PE programs. This is another way that PHIT America will increase participation in sports and fitness activities.

This year-round campaign is being led by Jim Baugh, a sports industry veteran, who is a former President of Wilson Sporting Goods, current SFIA board member, and an inductee of the NSGA Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. He has a strong background in helping to grow sports participation.

"We have talked about having an industry campaign for years. Now, we are going to do it," said Baugh. "Sedentary trends do not show a positive outlook for our future. Our industry must work together to grow sport and fitness participation levels. It will not happen by itself."

Baugh has been talking to companies and organizations in the sports and fitness industry for the past six months. Already, there are 118 companies and organizations that have joined the PHIT America Alliance. All present sponsors are on PHITAmerica.org. It is expected that up to 200 companies will join the Alliance by the end of 2013.

"It is so easy for every company in the industry to be part of the PHIT America Campaign. I invite everyone in this industry to join this great cause. Manufacturers, retailers, associations, event or league organizers, and the media see the benefits of this campaign," said Baugh. "The 'asks' to be a Sponsor of the campaign are very minimal. The ROI is outstanding. It is time for everyone to get in this game and not 'sit on the sidelines.'

Join the PHIT America Alliance. To learn more, send us an email at Alliance@PHITAmerica.org."

PHIT America is an educational and advocacy campaign creating a Movement for a Fit and Healthy America. PHIT America is a non-profit corporation started by the SFIA (Sports and Fitness Industry Association) in late 2012. For more information about PHIT America, visit www.PHITAmerica.org. Some of the many sponsors include: Wilson, Rawlings, Franklin, Mizuno, Russell Athletic, Modell's, Sport Chalet, Gatorade, New Balance, Saucony, AYSO, ACE Fitness, IDEA Fit, Life Fitness, Johnson Healthcare, Precor, IMG Academies, Konami, PGA of America, World Golf Foundation, NBA Fit, SI Golf, SKLZ, Riddell, USA Football, Athlon Sports, The Tennis Channel, Tennis Warehouse, among others. All Alliance Sponsors are listed on www.PHITAmerica.org.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.