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The Rodney Dangerfield Of The Sports & Fitness Industry: Physical Inactivity

Date: 8/1/18


Mike May
PHIT America

The Rodney Dangerfield Of The Sports & Fitness Industry: Physical Inactivity 

Physical Inactivity Is Draining the Lifeblood (and Dollars) From the Industry 

SILVER SPRING, MD – August 1, 2018 – “Physical inactivity is the most disrespected, overlooked, and ignored issue in the sports industry,” said Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America. “I am astonished by the number of people I talk with that don’t know …or care what is going on with physical activity levels in the U.S.…in our industry.”

When will leaders in the sports and fitness industry realize more kids are physically inactive? When will leaders in the sports and fitness industry realize that the U.S. is continuing to lose core team sports participants? When will big companies and equity partners stop focusing on short-term results and start investing in the future of the sports industry?  When will we respect and recognize that physical activity skills are taught and introduced in physical education programs, the grassroots program for all physical activity in America?  If we don’t fix these issues, the future of the sports and fitness industry is at risk.

“Some companies are realizing and helping to attack this issue, but most are sitting on the sidelines,” added Baugh.  “I think the majority (of companies) hope things get better or are just looking at their short-term business objectives. This is not good if you plan to be in the industry long term.”

Physical inactivity and society trends are putting the sports and fitness industry on a roadmap to huge negative issues, especially with our children. Sadly, most of the trends are getting worse.  

Listed below are the top ten takeaways from PHIT America’s ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Report 2018:

1. Only seven percent of American children are physically active to CDC standards;

2. The number of U.S. children who are active three times a week has dropped to 23.9%, a decrease of 15% in the last five years; 

3. Core participation in team sports in the U.S. is down for the fifth straight year;

4. American children from low-income families are rapidly becoming less physically active;

5. U.S. children are ranked 47th out of 50 countries in global fitness;

6. There is a deadly downward trend from core to casual (less committed) participants.  This change has cost the sports and fitness industry $20.5 million in lost sales in the past five years;

7. 97% of the key sports and fitness categories have lost share in the past five years;

8. Roughly 75% of all U.S. teens are not fit enough to join the military because they are not physically active, not playing sports, and not getting P.E. at school;

9. According to the CDC, Southeast USA has the highest rates of physical inactivity and, as a result, has many other major health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity;

10. In 2017, life expectancy in the U.S. declined for the second straight year and today’s children may not live as long as their parents.

Don’t be fooled by what you see or hear. You may see more sports on TV or more entertainment programs, like Ninja Warrior, on TV.  And, you might see superstar athletes like Lebron James all over the media or Roger Federer getting a $300 million contract and think things are OK.  Don’t be fooled into believing that participation is strong in a certain sport when you hear that attendance for a certain pro league is up.  Manufacturers and retailers may be misled because they are so focused on selling to the elite athletes and may not see that the ‘pool’ of young athletes -- who can throw, catch, run or jump -- is actually getting smaller and smaller. 

People may be watching sports, but being physically active is not the priority. Kids are playing e-sports, but are not playing real sports.  For the past five years, sports and fitness activities have lost market share. Americans are finding other things to do with their time. 

This is a must-read report for every segment of the sports and fitness industry which can be downloaded at IP.PHITAmerica.org.   There are two editions: (1) Impact on America (green cover) and (2) Impact on the Sports & Fitness Industry (blue cover).  For the first time, you will see specific recommendations for the sports and fitness industry to reverse this ‘Inactivity Pandemic.’  

The ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ Report 2018 hopes to build on the progress PHIT America has built in the past few years. We hope you can join our ‘movement.’  If you want to help, contact Alliance@PHITAmerica.org. 

Founded in January 2013, PHIT America is a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ through four strategic approaches – education, supporting school-based activity programs, a national event and advocating – which will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit and healthy.   Companies or individuals interested in helping PHIT America fight the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ should contact PHIT America at Alliance@PHITAmerica.org.

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