By MARK PFEIFFER | APFILE / This article(AP)Health and fitness companies have been the main drivers of the increase in fitness spending in the U.S. over the past decade, according to a report released Wednesday.
The research, from the Health and Fitness Industry Association, found that health care companies have invested an average of $1.8 billion per year in the fitness sector over the last decade, up from $1 billion in the decade prior.
“There’s a lot of momentum happening,” said Robert J. Siegel, executive vice president of health care and wellness at the association.
“It’s a very robust market.”
The increase in spending on fitness has come as the country has seen the obesity epidemic and as more Americans are seeking more health care options.
The U.K. and other countries have introduced mandatory fitness classes and are starting to pay more for insurance coverage of physical activity.
The report noted that the industry’s health care costs are increasing rapidly, driven by more people signing up for health insurance plans.
The association said that fitness spending has grown at a rate of 20% to 30% a year for the past five years, and that there are more than 3.6 million U.s. fitness facilities.
The growing number of fitness companies is fueling a broader trend among Americans that is seen across the country, the report found.
“We’re seeing a growing demand for wellness and fitness, but there’s been a trend toward a lot more companies being focused on it, and more companies investing in fitness,” said Kevin Kowalski, executive director of the Association for Health Sciences in the Americas.
The industry is now a $2 trillion market, according the report, and nearly 40% of the businesses it serves in the country have more than 50 employees.
Companies in the industry include fitness and health insurance companies, specialty physical therapists and exercise equipment companies, as well as fitness apparel and equipment.
There are currently more than 10 million fitness centers in the United States, according.
In the past year, health care spending has been rising at a faster pace than overall inflation.
In February, the average annual growth in U.N. medical spending per capita was 4.1%, up from 2.6% a month earlier.
The increase was fueled by an increase in medical spending for health care.
“A lot of that has to do with the fact that people are getting more exercise,” said Steve McElroy, executive producer of the PBS series “Caring for America.”
“They’re not just spending money on exercise equipment or physical therapy, they’re spending money in health care,” he added.
“So the health care industry is going to be very much a driver of the growth in fitness.”