While roughly 50 million American children are active playing organized sports, too many children are not.  Thanks to proposed federal legislation (Youth Sports Legislative Package), even more children may get a chance to be active and play for a team at the local level.  The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) is applauding the efforts of U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre (D-NC) who strongly supports the cause of youth sports and fitness.

On Thursday, July 26, McIntyre released the first-ever Youth Sports Legislative Package.  The proposed legislation includes seven components which support a wide realm of sports and fitness initiatives.  McIntyre is the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports.

“Youth inactivity is a big problem in this country as only one out of three children are physically active 60 minutes a day and many children spend as much as six hours a day watching TV or playing on a computer,” said SGMA President/CEO Tom Cove.  “The sporting goods industry greatly appreciates Rep. McIntyre’s efforts to help us combat this issue.  It’s tremendous to get this kind of support from Capitol Hill.”

“Each measure recommended in this legislative package champions a mutual goal of improving the opportunities for youth sports and recreation participation around the country,” said McIntyre.  “It represents a renewed commitment to youth and families and their health and well-being.  I will be working with my colleagues to push for its enactment.”

The Youth Sports Legislative Package includes seven bills, three of which are currently being supported by SGMA, which are:  1.) $74 million for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP); 2.) Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT); and 3.) $100 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The PEP Bill provides federal grants for school and community based physical education programs; PHIT allows for individuals to receive a tax break on up to $1,000 annually year for exercise programs, league fees, equipment, and gym memberships; and LWCF gives matching grants to states and local communities for acquisition and development of parks and recreation facilities.

The four other bills in the Youth Sports Legislative Package are: (1) House Resolution 442 (Youth Sports Week Resolution) which would establish the fourth week of July as National Youth Sports Week; (2) House Resolution 2045 (The Play Every Day Act) which would help communities overcome some of the barriers that make it difficult for children to play every day; (3) House Resolution 901 (The High School Athletics Accountability Act) which would make information public about the number of male and female students in school athletic programs, as well as expenditures made on each team; and (4) the National Youth Sports Program which would provide youth with academic instruction, skills training, and a variety of sport activities designed to improve physical fitness and health habits.

Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) joined Congressman McIntryre at the event to launch the Youth Sports Legislative Package.