According to The 2017 Physical Activity Council (PAC) Participation Report, several activities saw moderate increase including outdoor, team, and fitness categories. These gains, especially among those who participate three times a week or more, contributed to the 0.2 percent decline in inactivity among Americans ages 6 and older.
However, inactivity levels remain high at over 27 percent. More than 81 million inactive Americans do not participate in any of the 118 sports and activities covered by the report, which includes everything from individual and team sports to fitness machines, camping, walking and stretching.
“This year’s PAC Report tells two stories, said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “In a positive sign, more Americans were healthy to an active level and even moderate activity levels increased. On other hand, the number of Inactive Americans remains dangerously and unacceptably high.”
Activity levels vary across generations, as Boomers are the most likely to be inactive among the four generational groups observed in the report. Generation Z is most likely to be casually active, with participation focused on in team sports and outdoor activities. Generation X and the Millennials have the highest activity levels, with frequent engagement in fitness sports.
“Nearly three out of five Americans engage in fitness activities, marking an increase of 3 percent in total participation over the last year,” said Joe Moore, president and CEO of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). “However, opportunities remain to engage the population in regular activity, and while fitness and sport businesses can help by expanding access to facilities and services, much-needed initiatives like PHIT can move the needle on physical activity.”
Perhaps the most worrisome trend is the continuation of wide income discrepancies. Low-income households have double the levels of inactivity. Over 40 percent of individuals from households with annual incomes of less than $25,000 are inactive, compared to only 18 percent of those from households with over $100,000 income. Low-income households also have the greatest inactivity rate gain, growing by 14.3 percent on average since 2012.
Another important finding is the impact school-based physical education (PE) programs can have on a person’s physical activity levels later in life. The PAC Report verifies individuals that had PE in school are nearly two to three times more likely to participate in physical activity to a healthy level as adults than individuals that did not have PE in school.
The annual Participation Report measures overall levels of activity and identifies trends in more than 100 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 24,000 Americans age 6 and older.
The full version of the 2017 Participation Report can be found at PhysicalActivityCouncil.com.
The Physical Activity Council (PAC) is made up of eight leading industry organizations: International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub, Association (IHRSA);National Golf Foundation (NGF); Outdoor Foundation (OF); Snowsports Industries America (SIA); Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA); Tennis Industry Association (TIA); United States Tennis Association (USTA); and USA Football.