Source: PHIT America
SILVER SPRING, MD – February 10, 2015 – For the first time in many years, the President’s annual budget submission includes funding for the Carol M. White Physical Education (PEP) Program. The PEP grants provide much needed funding to local education agencies and community based organizations to initiate, expand or enhance physical education programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For the last 14 years, PEP grant recipients have successfully fought childhood obesity by developing innovative fitness programs that promote a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
The President proposed $60 million for PEP in his 2016 Department of Education budget, with $34 million being set aside for new PEP grants.
The White House has put its budgetary support behind a key pro-physical activity initiative: The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP). The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) provides grants, called PEP grants, to school districts to support innovative physical education methods.
This budgetary support could not have come at a better time. In three weeks, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) will hold its annual National Health through Fitness Day where 150 executives, P.E. advocates, and sports celebrities will visit Capitol Hill to ask Members of Congress to support the PEP Program and the PHIT Act.
“While the White House and the Department of Education agree on the success of the PEP Program in meeting its goals, we have to convince Congress that this support is critical as we fight the ‘inactivity pandemic’ and obesity crisis facing our nation. Providing schools with the resources they need to help our children become more active, fit and healthy is the best path to success,” notes SFIA President Tom Cove. “We must save the PEP Program during this critical time.”
Cove mentioned that SFIA and PHIT America are also meeting soon with the American Heart Association to plan ways to save and expand PEP.
New research, conducted by Focused Fitness and Old Dominion University, showed that participation in an activity-based curricula program resulted in a 39% improvement in fitness levels of more than 1400 students followed across 4th and 5th grade. The program was implemented in a large school district with PEP grant funding. And, there’s documented proof that active, fitter children also achieve better academic results in the classroom.
PEP grant schools have seen the positive results. "The PEP grant has been a life-saver for physical activity in our school,” says Ellen Smith, a P.E. teacher at Gove Elementary in Belle Glade, Florida, whose school has been the beneficiary of a PEP grant. “The PEP grant that we received served as a catalyst of positive change, sending a clear message about the transformational power of physical activity in the lives of our students.”
Time for Americans To Show Their Support - Advocate Now!
While waiting for Congress to get behind the PEP Program, there’s an easy-to-use tool for the general public to use so they can ‘voice’ their support for PEP. Click here to send an electronic letter directly to your local members of Congress to encourage them to support PEP. Americans who advocate on PHITAmerica.org will help support National Health Through Fitness Day meetings which will be held on March 4th on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
“It is time for this country to be super aggressive about physical education and the PEP Program,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America, a non-profit educational and grassroots campaign focused on overcoming the ‘inactivity pandemic’ in America. “We have research to show that daily P.E. works. We know kids in schools who receive a PEP grant are 39% fitter. We need much more support than $60 million currently in the President’s budget. This should be a $500 million program which impacts all 435 congressional districts. There is no other program which gets children active, will reduce health care costs, and help improve academics, too. Nothing is more important to this country than more, quality P.E. programs for our children.”
Founded in January 2013, PHIT America (www.phitamerica.org) is a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ through three strategic approaches – education, supporting school-based activity programs, and advocating – which will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit and healthy.