According to the most recent study from the Physical Activity Council (PAC), 80.2 million Americans age 6 and up, or 27.6%, were physically inactive in 2013. This is a decrease of 0.4% from 2012 where 80.4 million, or 28%, of the population were inactive.
An “inactive” person is defined as one who does not participate in any of the more than 120 sports/activities covered by the PAC report, which includes everything from individual and team sports to walking and running.
“Although, PAC members are encouraged by the inactivity rate flattening out, we still have more than 80 million Americans continuing to live totally sedentary lifestyles,” said Tom Cove, PAC Chairman and the President & CEO of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). “Industry initiatives and national campaigns to increase physical activity may be starting to bear fruit, but we need to decrease inactivity, not stabilize it. Now is the time for our country and our industry to double down in its commitment to promoting physical activity.”
The PAC Report also reveals a disturbing trend in two vital age groups. Inactivity among 13- to 17-year-olds increased to 19.9% (from 19.2%), and among 25- to 34-year-olds increased to 25.4% (from 25.1%).
"We believe 13- to 17-year-olds are specializing in a single sport as well as finding fewer opportunities to play sports at high school,” said Keith Storey, Vice President Sports Marketing Surveys USA. “The 25 to 34 year olds are perhaps the most time crunched generation with work commitments and young family commitments having an impact on the time available for sport."
However, 210 million Americans take part in a wide range of activities, according to the PAC Report. Fitness, outdoor, and individual sports were the top three types of activities Americans engaged in 2013. Nearly three out of five Americans (61%) engage in fitness sports.
The Physical Activity Council is made up of six leading sports, fitness, and activity associations dedicated to growing participation in their respective areas. PAC members are the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), SnowSports Industries America (SIA), Outdoor Foundation (OF), International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), Tennis Industry Association (TIA), and National Golf Foundation (NGF).
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 2014 PAC Report can be found at PhysicalActivityCouncil.com.