A recent survey involving 30,999 Americans found that Millennials were the most active generation of them all, a huge letdown for critics of America’s youth. The Baby Boomer generation, while more active than in decades past, were reportedly the least active.
The 2018 Physical Activity Council Participation Report on sports and activities in the U.S. shows that 28% of the population, 82.4 million Americans, are inactive.
According to the press release, “For more than five years, over a quarter of the U.S. population has indicated they were inactive. However, the annual report also indicates a moderate rise in participation for many sports and activities, including fitness sports, outdoor sports and winter sports.”
“While the number of inactive Americans continues to be a major concern for our country, we are encouraged that the rate of increase has slowed.” says Tom Cove, President/CEO of Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
The survey split generations into five categories, from “active to a healthy level” (most active) to “inactive” (least active).
Although almost half of all Millennials (age 19 to 38) participated in high-caloric activities, approximately a quarter remained sedentary. Approximately 65 percent of Generation Z (age 6 to 18) were at least casually active in 2017, the report said. Generation X (age 39 to 53) was generally less active than Millennials while still maintaining “healthy” activity levels.
Baby Boomers generally remained flat in all activity categories from 2016 and again reported the highest levels of inactivity.
Aside from older Americans, though, almost every generation is becoming more active, according to the PAC report.
“As our population evolves and ages, it’s exciting to see all age groups in new, fun activities,” said Jolyn de Boer, Executive Director of the Tennis Industry Association. “Whether it’s stand up paddling, pickleball, indoor golf or Cardio Tennis, we are seeing real growth and innovation in the ways Americans recreate.”
The study found other interesting tidbits, such as a correlation between people who had physical education in school and the continued embrace of a more active lifestyle.
According to the study, “The research gathered on physical education (PE) programs shows that 78% of individuals who had PE in school remain active. As lower-income households are dependent on PE for most of their physical activity, and the inactivity rates in that demographic are consistently increasing, it highlights the importance of including PE in a school curriculum. “