PHIT and PEP
I want to be fit and have a lot of pep, but we are going to need PHIT and PEP if the majority of people in the United States are fit and have pep, too!
It may seem as if I just talked in circles.
PHIT and PEP are two important pieces of pending legislation which will help create a more active, fit and healthy America.
USA Triathlon is supporting PHIT America and its efforts to fight the obesity epidemic in the US. The PHIT Act would give Americans incentive to exercise, get fit and stay healthy by using pre-tax medical accounts to reduce the cost of being physically active.
PHIT stands for Personal Health Investment Today.
PHIT America started in January 2013 and has more than 140 companies and organizations working to accomplish this mission.
If passed, participants in triathlon (that would be me), runners (that would be me), swimmers (me!!) and general sports advocates could use pre-tax medical accounts to pay for entry fees, camp fees, gym membership fees, and sports or fitness equipment.
PHIT would allow taxpayers to place up to $2,000 a year in existing Pre-Tax medical accounts for reimbursement of physical activity expenses.
To get more information about PHIT click here:
I don't know about you, but I would rather spend my money STAYING healthy and FIT, then spending it on medical bills trying to get well.
The second part of the legislation is PEP.
PEP is a vital federal grant program supporting physical education in the schools.
PEP is an 11-year federal program providing grants from the Department of Education directly to school districts to support and build quality PE programs. Grants are utilized for equipment, support and the training and education of teachers and staff.
I'll tell you from personal experience, most elementary schools do NOT have a regulated physical education program. And many teachers are NOT qualified to teach physical education.
Not to point fingers, but a lot of teachers need to be more physically active themselves.
A lot of times for PE, teachers will tell kids to run the field and then have free play.
According to PHIT America, only 48 percent of US schools even have PE.
Currently PEP is the ONLY spending in the entire Department of Education budget for physical education and it is being threatened by the national budget crisis.
During the past 10 years, lots of school districts have applied for PEP grants, but less than 10 percent of all applicants every get any money. That means there is a great demand for money to fund PE programs in the schools.
I recently contacted my representatives making sure they knew I wanted to keep PEP funded and on-going.
Dianne Feinstein, my US Senator, wrote me back. Here is an excerpt from her letter:
"I received your letter expressing support for the physical and health education. Your correspondence is important to me, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity in our Nation has tripled over the last 30 years, and more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese. The CDC also reports that individuals who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for numerous health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Obese children are not only at risk for immediate health problems, but are also more likely to be obese adults. I am concerned that childhood obesity rates continue to quickly increase and believe we must take steps to address this problem.
On February 27, 2013, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced the "Promoting Health as Youth Skills In Classrooms and Life Act" (S. 392), which would designate physical education and health education as "core academic subjects" within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-10). S. 392 is currently pending in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, of which I am not a member.
I understand you support the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP), which provides grants to schools and community organizations to create and expand physical education programs for students through grade twelve. The program was provided $79 million in fiscal year 2012. The President proposed consolidating federal physical education funding into a larger program called "Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education" in his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. The President proposed $75 million for this new program, with an unspecified amount going to physical education."
Here is why PHIT and PEP are so important -
Here are pictures of how the brain is effected after just 20 minutes of walking.
(Blue is inactivity in the brain)