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Old 03-06-2009, 02:07 AM
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Default USA Today Article: Athletes make pitch for fitness funding.

From today's USA Today (5 March 2009) - in the Sports section, last page:

Athletes make pitch for fitness funding

Should soccer cleats and baseball gloves be tax deductible? More than a dozen current and former athletes made that pitch to members of Congress on Wednesday in Washington, pressing for passage of legislation they say would help stem obesity in the USA.

The athletes, from nine-time Ultimate Fighting champion Matt Hughes to former NFL star Herschel Walker, lobbied lawmakers as part of a Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association initiative. In addition to the tax legislation, they pushed for more funding of a federal grant program for physical education classes and after-school programs in schools.

"I'm here as a professional athlete, and the biggest reason I'm here is I'm the father of three kids," said Hughes, 35, who decried the country's sedentary habits, saying, "Our lifestyle is just terrible."

Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., plans to introduce legislation that would make exercise expenses from sporting goods to gym memberships tax deductible as medical expenses.

"Regular physical activity remains the best preventive medicine we can prescribe," said Kind, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
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