Thursday
Mar302017

PAC Study shows slight increase in activity levels, room for improvement among older generations and lower income households

According to The 2017 Physical Activity Council 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% decline in inactivity among Americans ages 6 and older. However, inactivity levels remain high at over 27%. 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 & 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.

"The good news is that nearly three out of five Americans engage in fitness activities, marking an increase of 3% over the last year," said Joe Moore, President and CEO of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). "However, opportunities remain to engage more people in regular activity. Common sense initiatives such as the PHIT Act, that would make access to fitness related products and services more affordable, can greatly improve the levels of 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% of individuals from households with annual incomes of less than $25,000 are inactive, compared to only 18% of those from households with over $100,000 income. Low-income households also have the greatest inactivity rate gain, growing by 14.3% 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.

About the Physical Activity Council: The Physical Activity Council (PAC) is made up of eight leading industry organizations 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:

  • International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub, Association (IHRSA), 617-951-0055, ihrsa.org
  • National Golf Foundation (NGF), 561-744-6006, ngf.org
  • Outdoor Foundation (OF), 202-271-3252, outdoorfoundation.com
  • Snowsports Industries America (SIA), 435-657-5140, snowsports.org 
  • Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), 301-495-6321, sfia.org
  • Tennis Industry Association (TIA), 843-686-3036, tennisindustry.com
  • United States Tennis Association (USTA), 914-696-7000, usta.com 
  • USA Football, 317-614-7750, usafootball.com

About Sports Marketing Surveys USA: Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) USA is a full-service marketing research company with its roots firmly planted in sports participation, consumer quantitative and qualitative research, dealer studies, and much more all related to sports. Since 1985, SMS has been providing, data, insight and analysis to help drive strategic decision-making. Visit sportsmarketingsurveysusa.com.

About IHRSA
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is the trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, racquet and sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. Its mission is to grow, promote and protect the health and fitness industry. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA regularly conducts industry and consumer research, along with club operator studies. For more information on IHRSA research, visit ihrsa.org/research.