1 Jun


The just-completed 2017 PHIT America ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Reports (IP.PHITAmerica.org) reveal some deep concerns about physical inactivity in the U.S. While ‘casual’ participation is up for many sports activities and adult inactivity trends may be flattening, the trends for children are quite alarming. Children who are active in aerobic activities have declined more in the past year than any in recent times. And, the six-year physical activity trend is very negative. Combine this with a severe drop in youth team sports ‘play occasions’ and it’s clear that billions of U.S. children are not physically active. 

The 2017 PHIT America ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Report can be accessed at IP.PHITAmerica.org. There, you will see two versions of the report. One is filled with data for the sports & fitness industry and the second one contains data on the overall health and level of physical activity of all Americans.

“Everyone in the sports and fitness industry should read this new report,” says Jim Baugh, Founder, PHIT America. “Kids are both the present and future of the sports & fitness industry and the trends are not good. If we don’t turn this ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ around, we will have a society of sedentary residents who are not interested in physical activity and, more importantly, will be conditioned to being less physically active later in life. This is also a huge issue for the healthcare industry, as less active Americans equal more healthcare costs.”

“There is a definite trend to more casual participation in sports and fitness activities. Less committed participants spend less on sports and fitness products and services,” concludes Baugh.  “This is one of the reasons why some sports and fitness companies have seen a drop in sales.”

The Highlights of the 2017 ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Report:

  1. Overall, the trend for those who are physically active three times or more/week, in high aerobic activities, is stabilizing.
  2. The percentage of Americans active one time or more/week continues to decline.
  3. Kids who are active either three times or more/week or one or more times/week are declining.
  4. There’s a bigger percentage decline in physical activity among 6-12 year olds than with 13-17 year olds.
  5. ‘Play occasions’ -- the number of times that team sports participants are active each year -- have dropped 23% in the past six years, which represents a total loss of almost seven billion ‘play occasions.’
  6. There are now fewer ‘core’ sports participants (adults and kids) than ‘casual’ sports participants in the U.S.
  7. Wealthy Americans seem to be consistently more physically active.
  8. Less wealthy Americans are increasingly inactive, which is a healthcare ‘time bomb.’
  9. Kids who are physically inactive in low-income families have seen an 18% increase in physical inactivity in the past four years.
  10. 10.P.E. is still the best way to get children active, since children who have P.E. at school are 2-3 times more likely to be physically active ‘outside of school.’
  11. Sports and fitness participation by adults is driven by P.E., as well. Adults who had no P.E. at school are twice as likely today to be sedentary.
  12. Future buying trends are not positive.Fewer Americans are committed to buying sports and fitness products & services.
  13. Getting Americans physically active dramatically increases fandom in all sports and fitness activities.
  14. Physical inactivity in the U.S. is a bigger killer today than smoking and being overweight or obese.

“We know the issues and we have the solutions. While some sports are doing a good job in implementing new participation programs, we have to go ‘where all the kids are,’ which is in schools,” says Baugh. “The pool of active kids and kids who want to be physically active is declining. We have to reverse that trend.”

“And, we have the perfect program to turn around this ‘Inactivity Pandemic.’  Since the fall of 2015, we have distributed PHIT America GO! Grants to roughly 300 schools which has impacted nearly 120,000 students,” continues Baugh.  “We have doubled the level of physical activity for these kids by adding, on average, 85 minutes of physical activity per week. Our GO! Grants are rebuilding physical activity in schools and with students.  While the overall national news is negative, the good news is that the status quo is reversible – starting with regular recess and P.E. for all students in all grades. But, we have so much more to do. Anyone who wants to turn around this ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ should be working with PHIT America.”

“There are kids growing up today that don’t know how to throw, catch, skip, run, jump or stand on one leg,” concludes Baugh.  “This may sound so basic, but they are not being taught these skills in our schools anymore because many schools have no physical education programs. This lack of physical activity skills limit a child’s confidence, reduces what they will do later in life, and will result in health issues, as well.”