Physical inactivity is growing in the United States despite health club memberships growing, too, according to the Physical Activity Council's (PAC) 2015 Participation Report released Thursday.
The report showed physical inactivity has reached a six-year high even though health club memberships across the country have grown during nearly the same period.
According to a media release from the PAC, 82.7 million Americans (28.3 percent ) were physically inactive in 2014, an increase of 0.7 percent from 2013.
Tom Cove, who is PAC chairman as well as president and CEO of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), called the inactivity rate “fundamentally alarming.”
“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,” he said in the release. “It’s time we put our time and resources into industry initiatives and national campaigns to increase physical activity.”
The PAC report also showed more than 63 million Americans used a health club in 2014 – a 2.3 percent increase over the previous year – according to a release from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).
Health club memberships have grown by 18.6 percent since 2008, and the total number of consumers has increased by 19.2 percent over the same time.
IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore said total health club visits surpassed five billion for the second straight year in a figure he called “impressive” for the industry. Health club members frequented health clubs for an all-time high of 103 visits on average in 2014.
“These numbers demonstrate the important role health clubs play in helping more and more Americans improve their overall health and wellbeing,” Moore said in the release.
IHRSA noted the total number of health club facilities grew by 6.4 percent over 2013. Health club industry revenue increased 7.4 percent from 2013 to $24.2 billion in 2014.
“All key performance metrics reached an all-time high in the United States,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “With one in five Americans utilizing health and fitness facilities, the industry is well-positioned for future growth.”
Other notable figures released from the report include:
- Inactivity among 18- to 24-year-olds decreased for the second year to 25.4 percent.
- Fitness, outdoor and individual sports were the top three types of activities engaging Americans in 2014.
- 61 percent of Americans engage in fitness sports.
- Fitness, outdoor and team sports are the most popular activities for Millennials (born 1980-1999) and Gen Z (born 2000 and after).
- 54.1 million Americans belonged to at least one of the 34,460 health clubs nationwide.