SILVER SPRING, MD -- Fitness equipment manufacturers and sports celebrities, such as football great Herschel Walker, will be among those in attendance at the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) 11th annual National Health Through Fitness Day on March 10 in Washington DC.

The event was designed to lobby members of Congress about the importance of federal funding for the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act and the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Bill.

The PHIT Act encourages physically active lifestyles by making sports, fitness and recreational activities more affordable through the use of tax incentives. PEP provides the only federal money to school districts and community-based organizations for physical education and innovative physical activity methods, according to SGMA.

“With the PHIT Act and PEP grants, SGMA has a chance to work with the U.S. Congress to send a serious message about the importance of regular physical activity,” Bill Sells, SGMA’s vice president of government relations, said in a statement. “This legislation could possibly lead to the cultural change needed to revolutionize the nation’s attitude about physical fitness with respect to health. Too many people are overweight due to inactivity, and the sedentary trend needs to be reversed.”

The consortium will ask Congress to approve the PEP Bill in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 for $100 million. Congress approved $78 million in FY 2009 for PEP and $79 million in FY 2010.

The United States Tennis Association is the presenting sponsor of the event, and 36 other groups and companies are supporting and celebrity sponsors, including Precor, Polar Electro, Ultimate Fighting Championships, Nike and Reebok.