Sunday, September 8, 2013

PHIT America Founder Admits Denise Austin And Others First Celebrity Ambassadors

Interview with Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America

Written by: Staff on 5th September 2013

Introduction: Jim Baugh, a lifelong tennis industry professional, founded PHIT America in January 2013. He was inducted into Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 2011 and is the former President of Wilson Sporting Goods. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) and GOLF 20/20 Executive Committee. He’s held similar roles with the Tennis Industry Association and United States Tennis Association.

Question (Q): What is PHIT America?

Answer (A): PHIT America is a non-profit education and advocacy organization designed to get America more active, fit and healthy to combat the nation’s inactivity and obesity crisis. The statistics are staggering – 68 percent of Americans are either obese or overweight. A sedentary lifestyle is the prime contributor to the escalating health care costs we all face. The World Health Organization estimates $1 spent on physical activity can save $3.20 on future medical expenses.

Q: Why did you decide to create PHIT America? With my experience in the sports industry, I realized there was a bigger mission. America needs our help! If we can get organizations working together, we can help influence activity levels in this country. It will reduce obesity and healthcare costs. PHIT America has more than 130 companies working together to promote active, fit, and healthy lifestyles.

Q: What is the primary goal of the organization?
A: Our main objective is to create “A Movement for a Fit and Healthy America” by educating men, women and children about the importance of an active lifestyle to improve overall health. Around 192 million Americans are not active to healthy standards and it’s our mission to get them headed in the right direction.
Q: What is being done in Washington, D.C. to inform Congressional leaders about the inactivity and obesity crisis?

A: PHIT America supports two pieces of legislation crucial to increasing the number of healthy Americans. When passed, the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) will allow people to use pre-tax medical accounts for physical activity expenses. The Physical Education Program (PEP) is an 11-year Federal grant from the Department of Education for schools to rebuild health and fitness programs.

Each March, the SFIA hosts “National Health Through Fitness Day” on Capitol Hill with approximately 150 industry executives, 20 celebrity athletes and 40 sponsors to help pass legislation to “Get America Moving.” Our next event will be held in March 2014, our 14th consecutive year. Americans can also help by going to and clicking “Advocate” tab. It’s very simple to contact your Congressional leaders to show support.

Q: Are any tennis organizations supporting the cause?

A: Since our January 2013 launch, more than 130 leading companies and associations from the sports, fitness, retail and media industries have contributed funds and services to support PHIT America. There are close to 20 companies in tennis who are sponsors including Babolat, Midtown Athletic Clubs, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Finish Line, Head, Holabird Sports, Wilson, Prince, PTR Tennis, Tennis Channel, Midwest, Holabirds, Tennis Express and Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Industry Association, to name a few.

In addition, we have several celebrity athletes who adopt our vision to get Americans healthy through regular physical activity and exercise. For example, NFL great Hershel Walker, tennis legends Mike and Bob Bryan, fitness expert Denise Austin and Golf Channel instructor Michael Breed are a few of our first celebrity ambassadors.

Q: At the local level, are there any programs for people to get involved with and be active?

A: Yes, we recently announced the official launch of the Mayors Fitness Challenge (MFC), a fun 10-week health and wellness campaign designed to encourage community interaction through fitness and educational programs.

The program initiates weight loss and promotes active lifestyles through group fitness activities. This includes participation in complimentary or reduced-rate exercise classes and regular weigh-ins to track overall progress. The 110 individuals who finished the challenge in 2011 lost an average of 15.5 pounds and learned valuable lessons to maintain a dynamic routine.

MFC introduces participants to area gyms and sporting goods retailers while taking advantage of the city’s natural resources for outdoor activities such as boot camps. For more info, visit

Q: What can Americans do to support PHIT America?

A: To learn more and support our mission, visit to advocate, provide a donation or participate in health and wellness programs. Americans can also sign up to join the “Fan Club” and receive news updates, fitness tips and more.

About PHIT America

Founded in January 2013, PHIT America and its 130-plus sponsors are responding to the inactivity and obesity crisis by leading “A Movement for a Fit and Healthy America.” PHIT America promotes grass-roots fitness and sports initiatives, including development of high-quality physical education (PE) programs in schools. Recent Physical Activity Council research shows children in PE are three to four times more likely to be active outside of school.

PHIT America also supports two vital pieces of legislation, which will increase the number of fit and healthy Americans:

Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) – When passed, Americans will be able to use pre-tax medical accounts for physical activity expenses.

Physical Education Program (PEP) – An 11-year program supports local physical education programs throughout America.
Both the PHIT Act and PEP Program will help mitigate rising health care costs by causing Americans to develop more active lifestyles.

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