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

Inactivity Pandemic To Cost The Industry $28+ Billion By 2018

Inactivity Pandemic To Cost The Industry $28+ Billion By 2018

SILVER SPRING, MD – September 25, 2013 - During a presentation today from SFIA Chairman Bob Puccini, SFIA President Tom Cove, and PHIT America Founder Jim Baugh during SFIA’s Industry Leader Summit in Baltimore, it was disclosed that with more and more Americans moving from the ‘active’ category to ‘inactives’ or couch potatoes, the sports and fitness industry will lose $28 billion in retail revenue in the next few years. This simply represents the loss of retail sales as people become more sedentary.


Research by Sports Marketing Surveys of 40,000 Americans shows the percentage of American who are totally inactive in 104 sports or fitness activities has grow from 25% in 2007 to 28% in 2012. More important, this trend show no signs of slowing down and will grow to a whopping 31.1% of Americans by 2018 which will reduce retail consumption alone by $28 Billion. 

Keith Storey, President of Sports Marketing Surveys, has been studying these trends. “The Inactivity Pandemic is real and is a threat to America and the sports & fitness industry.  It is slow and gradual but the impact on industry revenue is dramatic. The industry must face this trend and turn it around”. 


The Physical Activity Council (PAC) has been tracking participation and consumer trends for the past 6 years. PAC knows how many Americans are playing each sport or activity and how much they spend each year. For this analysis, the PAC has classified Americans into three categories:

Consumption 2
  1. Inactive or Sedentary - Not active in any activity
  2. Active - participates in any of 104 activities
  3. Active to Healthy Standards - participates 3x's per week on average in any of the 104 activities

As someone shifts from being active to inactive (or a couch potato), their consumption of sports & fitness products declines dramatically. The chart on the right shows how an active person spends twice as much as an inactive person and an "active to healthy standards" American spends 3x's as much as an inactive person. 

The $28 Billion in lost sales is the pure loss of purchases as an American becomes inactive. They become sedentary ...and also purchase a lot less of our products and services. 


The $28 Billion represents only retail consumer sales. Think of the impact these reduced consumer sales will have on manufacturers, suppliers, agents, and others. There is no question the inactivity pandemic - Americans becoming more and more sedentary - is having an effect on our entire industry and will have even a greater effect unless we turn around these inactivity trends through a concerted effort. 


You can see all the trends for inactivity and participation levels for key segments of the US sports & fitness industry over the past 6 years in this section. We show how inactivity is growing, especially with our youth and how almost every sport or fitness category is losing share (of the US population) to other non sport or fitness activities.  Click on either of the two charts below to see a deck on the inactivity and participation trends.

Youth Sport Trends


As with any business situation where there is a potential revenue decline, one has multiple options. You and our industry has the same options:

  1. Do nothing and hope the trends turn around 
  2. Reduce expenses to off set potential industry revenue declines
  3. Invest to change the trends - Get more Americans active, playing sports and increasing our industry revenues

PHIT America has two recommendations. The first is for everyone to invest in activity and sport programs in your area or your sport expertise with a special emphasis on "fun" for the average American. As an industry, we have catered to the serious, frequent participant because they buy the most product. However, the "fuel" or source for this market starts with people learning an activity in a 'fun" environment or program geared to the average or beginner in a sport or activity. Some specific industries are doing this (golf, tennis, running, hockey) fairly effectively. 

The second is to invest to help 'grow the pie' overall. We need to make sport & fitness participation more relevant in the minds of Americans.  Americans are watching sports more than ever....but they are not participating in sport activities. Our industry must come together to communicate to Americans to make sport and fitness activities more of a priority. We can also work together on many other area such as passing key legislation which will influence Americans to be more active, fit and healthy. 


PHIT America was launched in January 2013 to create A Movement for a Fit & Healthy America. We already have over 130 Sponsors working together on our mission. You can see the full list of sponsors on this page. We also have two new groups of supporters, Celebrities and local Ambassadors. Click on the names who have joined our cause and campaign.

PHIT America has 4 key strategies:

  1. Communicate, educate, and stimulate Americans to get more active, fit, playing more sports & healthy
  2. Help pass key legislation which will help Americans get more active, fit, playing more sports & healthy
  3. Support & promote grassroots & school programs which will get Americans more active, fit, playing more sport & healthy
  4. Gain support by an engaged PHIT America Alliance - Educate our industry on the issues and have us work together to tackle the issue of inactivity

Please go through our website. You will see this is a great communication vehicle for our industry to Americans. PHIT America also publishes 2-3 News Flash Articles every month which are sent to you and pushed out to America. These thought provoking articles lead Americans to our website. We also have strong Twitter and Facebook presence. 

One of the cornerstones of our cause is to help pass The PHIT Act and PEP Program. Please see how each of these pieces of legislation will help or influence Americans to be active, fit and healthy...and help our industry as well. We must work together to influence Congress to pass The PHIT Act and sustain the PEP Program.

Grassroots community and school based programming will always be the key to grow overall participation. And, PHIT America is positioned to help here too. We have just launched the Mayors Fitness Challenge, a fun 10-week fitness program for cities to implement. We also have a great partner, KIDS in the GAME, who is supporting local community and school based programs.

PHIT America is our industry's cause and campaign which is ready to make a bigger impact with YOUR support.


Look at this page to learn more about the ways you can be involved. There are multiple ways you can support PHIT America. Our "asks" are simple and easy to execute:

  1. Receive and Post PHIT America "News Flashes" on your social media platforms.  These "News Flashes" are published 2-3 times per month and will provide information about the obesity and sedentary crisis, solutions, and our cause.
  2. Utilize any other marketing resources or communication tools you have such as your website, newsletters, contract professional athletes, etc. to help spread word about PHIT America message to Americans.
  3. If you are a company or organization, become a Sponsor of PHIT America.

 If you are a very small retailer, local influencer or still want to be involved, please contact us at

IT IS CRITICAL EVERYONE IN THIS INDUSTRY WORK TOGETHER TO TURN AROUND THE INACTIVITY PANDEMIC. PHIT America has made it easy for you to be involved. Contact us to learn how.