Americans became less active in 2014, according to the 2015 Participation Report released Wednesday by the Physical Activity Council (PAC).

PAC found 82.7 million Americans age 6 and up, or 28.3 percent, were physically inactive last year, up 0.7 percent from 2013 when 80.2 million, or 27.6 percent, of the population were inactive.

An “inactive” person is defined as one who does not participate in any of the 104 sports/activities covered by the PAC report, which includes everything from individual and team sports to fitness machines, camping, walking and stretching.

“The high rate of inactivity is fundamentally alarming,” said Tom Cove, PAC Chairman and the President & CEO of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). “We have almost 83 Million Americans living totally sedentary lives. While we can look at this number in a negative light, I would like to use it as a wakeup call to not only our Industry but the rest of society.  The benefits of increasing activity are well documented for individuals and for the country.  It’s time we put our time & resources into industry initiatives and national campaigns to increase physical activity.”

While the PAC Report identified negative participation trends in six of eight age groups surveyed, the PAC Report also reveals a positive trend in one vital age group. Inactivity among 18- to 24-year-olds decreased for the second year to 25.4 percent.

The PAC Report estimates 208 million Americans take part in a wide range of activities. Fitness, outdoor, and individual sports were the top three types of activities Americans engaged in 2014. Nearly three out of five Americans (61 percent) engage in fitness sports.  For Millenials (born 1980-1999) and Gen Z (2000+), fitness, outdoor and team sports are the most popular activities. 

The report also identifies those activities non-participants would want to do.  Swimming for fitness, camping, hiking and bicycling led this list of “aspirational activities.” 

“It’s clear many sedentary people want to have a more active, healthy lifestyle.  We need to re-commit ourselves to cracking the code in making this happen,” said Cove. 

Physical Activity Council

The Physical Activity Council (PAC) is made up of six of the leading sports and manufacturer associations that are dedicated to growing participation in their respective sports and activities. To understand their audiences, these organizations conduct annual studies that provide comprehensive, accurate and actionable data on sports participation.

The PAC is made up of the following trade and industry associations:

  • Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), 301.495.6321
  • Snowsports Industries America (SIA), 703.556.9020
  • Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Foundation (OIA) and (OF), p:202.271.3252
  • International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub, Association (IHRSA), 617.951.0055
  • National Golf Foundation (NGF), 561.744.6006
  • Tennis Industry Association (TIA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA), 866.686.3036

The PAC's annual Participation Report measures overall levels of activity and identifies trends in over 120 specific sports, fitness and recreation activities. The report also examines spending habits, the effect of physical education, and participation interests among non-participants. The research was conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys USA, and the findings are based on an annual online survey of Americans age 6 and older.
The full version of the 2015 PAC Report can be found at