According to the Physical Activity Council's annual survey, 28 percent of the American population sat on their ass and did nothing last year. These 83 million "totally sedentary" Americans age 6 and over did none of the 104 specific physical activities listed by the Council. That's the highest total since 2007, when that number was so outrageously high that the criteria for "active" things was expanded to include games like darts and billiards. Here's how the survey went down, per the Wall Street Journal.
The survey was based on more than 10,700 individual and household interviews during the first two months of 2015, concerning their physical activity for the prior year. The survey tracks participation across a range of sports and fitness endeavors, from running, basketball and soccer to other activities like bowling, yoga and paintball. The data also includes responses across the age spectrum from children over six to adults age 65 and over.
One thing though: What qualifies as an "inactive" person?
An “inactive” person is defined as one who does not participate in any of the 104 sports/activities covered by the PAC report, which includes everything from individual and team sports to fitness machines, camping, walking and stretching.
To summarize: 83 million Americans DID NOT WALK LAST YEAR. While inactivity amongst 13 to 17 year olds and 18 to 24 year olds continued to trend downward, all other age groups either saw increases or no change in inactivity rates. The Council's explanation—pardon, excuse—for the rise in inactivity is even sadder to read than the data itself:
In 2014, we are seeing the a highest percentage of inactivity over the last six years. Americans continue to struggle with physical activity commitment. With the economy bouncing back and having more extreme weather conditions in 2014, more people choose other commitments than physical activity.
Spot on, sad Council report. Going outside is rough when half the country is either snowed-in nine months of the year and the other half is dying from oppressive heat during the only good months. (I'm positive that nobody in the Northeast went outside all winter.) Not only that, but there's over-the-top streaming for basically any entertainment you can imagine coming through your screen. Indoors or outdoors, Americans have more reasons than ever to sit around and do nothing (or sit around and work in front of a computer, I suppose), and like hell are we taking advantage.
Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[via The Wall Street Journal]