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More Than 60 Million Americans Are Considered 'Couch Potatoes'

Date: 3/29/11

SILVER SPRING, MD – March 29, 2011 -- According to a recently completed study, more than 60 million people in the U.S. are totally inactive, according to a recent study by the Physical Activity Council (PAC).  That’s one of the key findings of the Physical Activity Council which analyzes overall participation in sports, fitness, and recreational endeavors.  With all the publicity and attention being paid to the current obesity crisis in the U.S., the need to get people away from their computer screens and television sets in order to get more active has never been more important.

“While the study shows there are 245 million active Americans, it also finds that close to 61 million are totally inactive.  What’s most alarming about this situation is that 34% of the inactive people are between 6 and 34 years of age,” said Tom Cove, president/CEO of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), which is the managing partner of the Physical Activity Council. “The study also shows that the number of inactive 6 to 12 year olds has more than doubled since 2008.”

“Everyone knows that daily physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, yet a dangerously large portion of our society is totally sedentary.    It’s obvious our country cannot sustain these trends of inactivity, especially for people under 35,” stated Cove.   “The good news is the data shows many people want to be more active.  This is a clarion call for our society -- industry, communities, government and the non-profit sector -- to be more committed and creative in providing sports, fitness and recreation opportunities for every American.”

This year’s study also asked respondents to provide insight into those activities that they would like to play in the future, but just don’t right now for one reason or another. 

“The whole concept of measuring people’s aspirations when it comes to sports participation has previously not been done in this sort of research environment,” said Keith Storey, vice president of Sports Marketing Surveys USA, which coordinated the overall study.  “The answers to these questions show there is a clear desire by Americans to participate in a number of fitness, sports and outdoor activities, but they just don’t know where to start.  It is this pent-up demand that presents both an opportunity and a challenge to our seven organizations.  The survey results prove that people want to ‘get off the sidelines’ and participate, but might need a bit of a push to get going.”

The PAC is the driving force behind the country’s largest and most comprehensive study on sports participation and recreational habits for all Americans ages six and older.  The Physical Activity Council is made up of seven of the leading organizations that are responsible for encouraging participation in 119 different sports, fitness and recreational activities.  The member organizations of PAC are the National Golf Foundation (NGF), Snowsports Industries America  (SIA), The Outdoor Foundation  (OF), Tennis Industry Association (TIA), United States Tennis Association (USTA), International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA).

This annual report is based on responses to a nationally representative Internet-based survey each year sent to more than one million Americans and it features responses from nearly 40,000 completed interviews. The study is produced by a partnership of seven of the major governing bodies and trade associations in U.S. sports and leisure industry (NGF, SIA, OF, TIA, USTA, IHRSA, and SGMA).  Each partner produces more detailed reports on its specific areas of interest.  This overview report summarizes ‘topline’ data to establish levels of activity and identify key trends in sports, fitness and recreation participation in the USA. For more information and a free copy of the report, please visit www.physicalactivitycouncil.com.

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