Let's Move? 1 in 4 of Us Barely Get Off the Couch

Study finds the number of us who are completely sedentary
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2015 4:46 PM CDT
Let's Move? 1 in 4 of Us Barely Get Off the Couch
Ellen DeGeneres dances with first lady Michelle Obama's as she takes part in Obama's #GimmeFive Challenge in honor of the 5th Anniversary of "Let's Move!" It aired March 16.   (AP Photo/Warner Bros., Mike Rozman)

The Physical Activity Council has a list of 104 physical activities—which do not include lifting 12 ounces of Bud Lite but do include table tennis, golf, and walking—in its annual survey of our activity habits, released yesterday. And the number of Americans who engaged in not a single one of those 104 activities in all of 2014 is more than one in four of us: That's 83 million people, or 28% of the US population over the age of 6, reports the Wall Street Journal. "We feel confident, in a sad way, that this is the largest number we’ve ever seen," says PAC member and Sports and Fitness Industry Association exec Tom Cove, who adds it's the most dismal result he's seen in 24 years. The number of completely sedentary Americans increased by 18% since 2007.

That's not to say we don't like the appearance of fitness, just the actuality of it: The Journal notes the rise of "athleisure" apparel; such footwear saw sales jump 8% in the year ending April 11, while performance shoes took an 18% dive. The PAC traces the decline to our schools, which help form our lifelong fitness habits and where kids are spending less time in gym class and recess. Another problem? The increasingly cutthroat nature of sports is forcing more casual athletes to the sidelines. Says Cove: "There are way too many kids who leave sports at age 9, 10, 11, because they simply have to make a decision: Am I going to be a travel soccer kid and devote my life to this, or are there other things that I want to do?" (An editorial argues that it's not lack of exercise causing an obesity epidemic, it's the food industry's unhealthy products.)

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