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Youth Team Sports Play Occasions Down 23% in the Last Six Years

Youth Team Sports Play Occasions Down 23% in the Last Six Years

"We Know The Issues And We Have The Solutions"

SILVER SPRING, MD – June 1, 2017 – The just-completed 2017 PHIT America ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Reports (IP.PHITAmerica.org) reveals some deep concerns about physical inactivity in the U.S., especially for the youth team sports category.

While ‘casual’ sports participation is up for many activities and total physical inactivity trends may be flattening, the physical activity trends for children are quite alarming. Kids active in most aerobic activities has declined more in the past year than any in recent times. And, the six-year Inactivity Pandemic 2017 Reports activity trend is very negative. IP Cover Image

A new measure of activity is to look at total team sports ‘play occasions.’  This is the total number times kids have participated in team sports activities each year.  The trend indicates a drop of 23% in ‘play occasions’ in the last six years.  This represents a nearly seven billion drop in ‘play occasions,’ a dramatic number to say the least.  The ironic thing is the number of team sports participants is slightly up, but the number of times they are playing is dramatically lower.  This also accounts for the overall shift from more ‘core’ participants to ‘casual’ participants, which will be highlighted in a chart within this release.

When you combine this team sports trend and the overall youth physical activity trends, it shows that children are not engaged in sports and fitness activities which is a concern for today and the future. 

The newly released 2017 ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Report can be accessed at IP.PHITAmerica.org. You will see there are two versions. One is filled with data for the sports & fitness industry and the other is more for the average American with a little more focus on the overall health of Americans.

“Everyone in the sports and fitness industry should read this new report,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of 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 around, we will have a society of sedentary people who are not interested or, more importantly, conditioned to be physically active later in life. This is also a huge issue for the healthcare industry, as less active Americans equals more healthcare costs.”

“You will also see a definite trend to more ‘casual’ sports participants. Less committed sports participants spend less on sports & fitness products and services. This is one of the reasons why some sports & fitness companies have seen a drop in sales,” says Baugh.

The Highlights of The 2017 ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Report

  1. Overall, the trends for those who are active three times or more/week or more in high aerobic activities seems to be stabilizing.
  2. The percentage of Americans physically active one time or more/week continues to decline.
  3. Kids who are active three times or more/week or one time or more/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.”