Carl Lewis, Herschel Walker & Alex Ovechkin Headed to Capitol Hill

Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis
AP Images.

A delegation of sports legends will descend on Capitol Hill next week to help promote passage of the PHIT Act, a piece of legislation aimed at increasing physical activity in America.

Next Wednesday, March 16, is the National Health Through Fitness Day, presented by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association and PHIT America. For the event, the organizations are being joined by more than a dozen athletes, as well as P.E. teachers, fitness experts and industry executives, to lobby Congress for support and raise awareness about the nation’s “inactivity pandemic.”

Among the celebrity athletes taking part are nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker and Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin.

In a statement, Walker, who is serving as the honorary chairman of NHTF Day, said, “I am looking forward to sharing the news with members of Congress about the importance of getting the PHIT Act passed. It is common-sense legislation. The PHIT Act will provide a financial incentive for families to get active and stay active. The PHIT Act can play a big role in reversing the ‘inactivity pandemic,’ which currently impacts 83 million people.”

The PHIT Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate last November with bipartisan support, and a similar bill is making its way through the House of Representatives.

If passed, it would make fitness more affordable for Americans by changing the IRS definition of a “medical expense” to include physical activity as a form of prevention. As a result, Americans would be able to use their pre-tax medical accounts (such as HSAs and FSAs) for expenses such as youth-sport registration fees, health-club memberships, fitness classes and more.

In addition to pro athletes, the PHIT Act is also strongly supported by the sporting goods industry, including brands such as Nike, Adidas, Brooks, Mizuno, Under Armour, Reebok and New Balance.