A Movement for a FIT and Healthy America
The Cost of Obesity in the USA in 2013 Keeps Rising

Only One Sports & Fitness Category Has Real Spending Growth

SILVER SPRING, MD – June 2, 2015 – How many people are planning to spend money when it comes to sports and fitness?  The real answer is:  Not as much as they used to and not as much as they really need to in order to complement a physically active lifestyle!

The results of a recent consumer questionnaire (conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys USA) reveal that of the 11 categories in the national poll, only one category – Gym Memberships/Fees – showed real growth over the past few years. In other words, the percentage of Americans who have spent money on various categories of sports and fitness is on the decline. This decline, in many ways, tracks with the decline in the percentage of people who are physically active over the same time period.

While it is very encouraging to see increased spending and interest in fitness or gym related activities, the reality is that the surge in consumer interest in that category does not make up for the drops in other categories.

% Spending

There were five categories which had a statistical drop in consumer spending between 2011 and 2014:

  1. Team sports at school
  2. Team sports outside school (i.e. local recreational sports)
  3. Sports and recreation equipment
  4. Travel to take part in sports and recreation
  5. Sports and recreation equipment

“These declining consumer spending percentages are a reflection of the growing trend of inactivity in the U.S.,” observes Keith Storey, vice president, Sports Marketing Surveys USA (Jupiter, FL).

The drop in ‘team sports at school’ is a reflection of the severe drop in the number of children who are participating in youth sports overall. In that report, 10 of 12 youth sports had drops in participation in the last five years.

“All of this reflects the slow but certain strength of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic.’ We can definitely trace these negative trends back to the cuts in physical education programs, cuts P.E. budgets and cuts in recess,” comments Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America. “Research shows children and adults who don’t have P.E. are much more likely to be inactive. And, with only 48% of all high schools having P.E. and the average school budget for P.E. at $764 per year, the slowing of the numbers of Americans who are consuming products in the sport and fitness categories is very predictable.”

The ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Rears Its Ugly Head in the U.S.

When you look at the declining numbers of Americans who are spending money on sports and fitness categories, it’s not surprising to see rising levels of inactivity in the U.S., as nearly 83 million Americans were physically inactive 2015 Inactivity Chartin 2014.                               

This number and percentage of people who are totally inactive – ‘couch potatoes’ - keeps growing. This is very alarming as it also impacts health care costs, scholastic achievement and national security.

"As a family physician, I have seen first-hand that exercise is a powerful medication,” says Dr. Robert Sallis, medical doctor/co-director, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center (Fontana, CA). “My patients who exercise are consistently healthier and live longer and years of research back up this observation."

Professor Charles Hillman, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, says that short bouts of physical activity by a student can lead to improved academic success in math and reading. PHIT America has accumulated more than 12 independent studies which conclude a more active student achieves better academic results.

In a recent editorial in Mission: Readiness, Major General Errol Gordon Stump, U.S. Air Force (Retired), and Major General William A. Henderson, U.S. Air Force (Retired), stated that 70% of Americans ages 14-17 are unfit to join the military and 1,200 U.S. military recruits are discharged each year due to being unfit. 

Recent research shows the tremendous consequences of physical inactivity:

  • Inactivity Is Deadly:In a study of 334,000 people over 12 years, twice as many people died prematurely from inactivity versus obesity.
  • Sitting Is the New Smoking:In the USA, more people are dying of inactivity today than smoking.
  • Kids Are At High Risk: 80% of adolescents are at high risk of disease from failing to do the recommended amounts of physical activity.


962 Wayne Ave, Suite 300, Silver Spring MD 20910
more news