The percent of children aged six to 12 who were physically active three or more times a week had its biggest drop in five years and is now under 25%, new data show.
Making matters worse, households with incomes under $50,000 have much higher rates of inactivity than families making more than $75,000 annually, an analysis by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association and PHIT America found. In fact, low income Americans are getting more inactive while high income Americans are becoming more active.
The level of inactivity increased from about 33% in 2012 to nearly 37% in 2016 for families making less than $50,000 per year. Meanwhile, inactivity levels for those earning more than $75,000 dropped from 22% to nearly 19%.
“This is very concerning at several levels (with) long term implications for societal costs, including health care, but in my view it’s basically a moral issue,” says Tom Cove, CEO of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. “There is no reason lower income people in America should be more inactive than others.”
Jim Baugh, a former president of Wilson Sporting Goods and founder of the non profit PHIT America, analyzes the Physical Activity Council’s data every year to glean the trends beyond team sports. The increase in inactivity among young people is what he calls the “healthcare time bomb.”