Let’s Not Get Physical: America’s Inactivity Level At All-Time High

The U.S. is certainly no slouch when it comes to consuming calories. The average American takes in 3,770 every day – more calories than any other nation in last year’s United Nations’ survey.

So it’s probably not a big surprise that that 83 million American’s (about 28% of the total population) recently reported they are “totally sedentary” – never once participating in any of over 100 physical activities ranging from basketball to bowling in all of 2014.

The 2015 Participation Report released this April was conducted by the Physical Activity Council (PAC) and based on more than 10,700 individuals and households that responded to questions about their physical activity in 2014.

An “inactive” person was defined as anyone who did not participate in the over 100 sports and activities listed in the PAC survey that included walking, camping, hiking, yoga, bicycling and dozens more. The survey used to include extremely low exertion sports such as darts and billiards, but eliminated those in 2007. Since then, the level of the nation’s inactivity has increased 18% in just six years.

Tom Cove, chief executive of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association and a member of the PAC noted the number of inactive Americans is the highest he has witnessed during the 24 years he’s been involved with the PAC survey.

“While we can look at this number in a negative light, I would like to use it as a wakeup call…it’s time we put our time and resources into industry initiatives and national campaigns to increase physical activity,” Mr. Cove added.

Further, PAC has found that physical education in the nation’s schools directly correlates to the fitness levels of individulals throughout life. A lessening emphasis on gym time for school kids over the years may be the main contributor to the rising inactivity level seen in adults today.