Last week we told you the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) released its 2014 Top Fitness Trends survey. One change from previous years is the placement of Children and Exercise for the Treatment/Prevention of Obesity. It landed at #11… moving down 7 slots from #4 in 2013. In fact, this marks the first time since 2007 this trend has not been in the top 5.
Childhood obesity remains a serious concern for health professionals and parents… so why the change? Leah E. Robinson, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Director of the Pediatric Movement and Physical Activity Laboratory at Auburn University. She tells Prism Fitness Group money is likely the motivating factor behind the drop. “The industry is seeing more revenue from fitness and training programs that target the adult population,” she said. “From a health standpoint, there is a great need for programs that target children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity, but it is likely that the revenues are not being generated to support the sustainability of these programs.”
How should the fitness industry respond? Robinson says we need to look long term and continue focusing on programming for pediatric populations. “Yes, it might not generate the revenue up front, but the potential benefits are enormous from a life-long health perspective,” Robinson explains. “Additionally, the fitness industry will be targeting future clients – healthy and physically active children will one day become healthy and physically active adults who are putting money back into the fitness industry.”