(SILVER SPRING, Md.) - PHIT America - the non-profit education and advocacy organization designed to combat the nation's inactivity and obesity crisis - announces LPGA star Ryann O'Toole, USA Water Polo four-time Olympic medalist Heather Petri and USA Softball two-time Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith as celebrity ambassadors. The three join an all-star group of previously announced supporters, including fitness expert Denise Austin.
One of the fittest women in golf, O'Toole is dedicated to a strict workout regimen and participates in a range of other sports, including surfing, whenever her schedule allows. She believes that consistent exercise is necessary to stay healthy while traveling to tournaments around the world.
"As a professional athlete, I've made a point to inspire others, not only through golf, but by exercising daily and sticking to a routine," says O'Toole. "The partnership with PHIT America is crucial in educating the almost 70 percent of the total population that is either obese or overweight."
In 2012, Petri capped a historic water polo career with a gold medal at the London Olympic Games. At "National Health Through Fitness Day" on Capitol Hill earlier this year, she spoke to Congressional leaders about the rise of sedentary lifestyles and resulting health issues.
Smith, a softball gold medalist at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, is committed to engaging kids on and off the playing field. She shares her passion for the game and an athletic lifestyle with the next generation of girls through a variety of camps and clinics.
"The percentage of Americans who are completely sedentary has steadily increased over the past five years with inactivity remaining the prime contributor to escalating healthcare costs," says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America, former President of Wilson Sporting Goods and a 2011 inductee into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. "Celebrity athletes like Ryann, Heather and Michele are all helping to spread the message of PHIT America."
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 a 12-year Federal grant from the Department of Education for schools to rebuild health and fitness programs.
Since its 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.
Americans are encouraged to support PHIT America by visiting www.PHITAmerica.org to advocate, provide a donation or participate in health and wellness programs.