SGMA Announces Distribution of Funds to PEP Grant Recipients

Thanks to the efforts of the SGMA and many of its member company representatives, federal funds continue to be dispersed to provide quality P.E. programs in schools around the U.S.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- September 12, 2006 – Thanks to the efforts of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) and many of its member company representatives, federal funds continue to be dispersed to provide quality P.E. programs in schools around the U.S. On September 5, The U.S. Department of Education awarded $17 million in new PEP (Physical Education Program) grants to 54 schools in 20 states. The balance of the $73 million Congress allocated for PEP in 2006 will be applied toward existing multi-year grants awarded in 2004 and 2005.

PEP is a competitive grant program managed by the U.S. Department of Education. PEP grants are awarded to schools and community based organizations that provide quality P.E. programs for America's youth.

The U.S. Congress is still determining the funding level for PEP in 2007. The U.S. Senate has proposed $72 million while the U.S. House of Representatives and President Bush have recommended $26.8 million, only enough to fund existing grants. SGMA encourages its members to contact Congress in support of the Senate proposal of $72 million. SGMA has written a letter which you can customize and send via SGMA's website:

http://influence.sgma.com

So far, the PEP program has successfully enhanced K-12 physical education programs across the country through grants used for training in state-of-the-art health and wellness-based physical educations methods; the addition of new technology such as heart-rate monitors and pedometers; and the acquisition of innovative P.E. equipment.

When children are given access to P.E. programs in schools, there are many beneficial side effects -- including increased academic performance, lower absenteeism in schools, reduced childhood obesity rates, fewer instances of disruptive behavior, and more attentive students in the classroom.

"The PEP program has a proven record of success in improving the physical condition and health of students,” said SGMA President Tom Cove. “As our childhood and adult obesity rates continue to climb, we need to promote effective programs like PEP. We certainly don't want to cut funding for them. If we fail to get the younger generation more health conscious, this country will face a huge health care crisis in the years to come.”

“With the many fiscal challenges our country is facing, it's imperative that we invest in improved fitness today or risk a tremendous health care burden in the future,” said Bill Sells, SGMA's Director of Government Relations. “If we ignore the obesity problem, the Center for Disease Control estimates U.S. healthcare spending will rise to $4 trillion by 2015 (20% of GDP). As a nation, we cannot afford to go down that road. PEP will help America avoid that scenario."

Since PEP was created by Congress in 2001, more than $325 million in P.E. funds have been distributed via more than 840 PEP grants. PEP funding has grown from $5 million in 2001 to $73 million in 2005 and 2006.

One of the foundations for PEP annually takes place in Washington, D.C. SGMA organizes a day-long lobbying effort featuring well known athletes, sporting goods manufacturers, sports retailers, health care leaders, concerned citizens, and association leaders. The purpose of this lobbying initiative is to meet with members of Congress in order to ask for continued funding of quality P.E. classes in our nation's schools.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, owner of the Sports Research Partnership, is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA enhances industry vitality and fosters sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation. More information about SGMA can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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