Gym Shoes

Who Benefits from a Booming Fitness Industry?

The fitness industry is booming. Since 2000, gym memberships have nearly doubled. Health clubs generate revenues of $87 billion per year around the world. In addition, we’re spending money on fitness togs and gear as if our lives depend upon it. And maybe, just maybe, some people are improving their health. But we’re not putting a dent in the obesity rate with all these recreational fitness activities.

The Rest of Our Lives

Where do we get the time for our fitness routines? Labor saving conveniences help us pack more work into the day. Biking or walking to work is a great concept. It seems trendy. But the trend is not up. Who has time for that? In fact, most U.S. adults engage in no active transportation whatsoever. So says a new analysis by Marissa Zwald and colleagues in Preventive Medicine. 

Then, after we get to work, we’re spending a lot of time sitting. Keeping focused. Getting the job done so we can get to the gym. It’s not easy, but we’re packing a lot into every day. That’s because we don’t waste too much time sleeping. Among adults, about 35 percent get less than seven hours of sleep nightly. Among teens, it’s more like two-thirds.

Something here doesn’t add up. We’re working hard to pay for that healthy lifestyle. But obesity is growing as we do. And the diseases that result from untreated obesity are sweeping the globe. Asking people to overcome it with a DIY approach isn’t working out too well.

Yes, the fitness industry is booming. And we’re selling ever more togs and food to go with a healthy lifestyle. But somehow, abundant good health isn’t sweeping the world. Perhaps we need to rethink things a bit.

For more on the booming fitness industry, click here. You’ll find Zwald’s study here and more on the epidemiology of physical activity here.

Gym Shoes, photograph © m01229 / flickr

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


November 3, 2018