BOSTON — A national consumer study conducted by American Sports Data Inc. and sponsored by IHRSA has determined that the total number of health club members in the United States has climbed to a record 36.3 million people. This finding from the annual Health Club Trend report represents a 2.52 million member increase over 2001 or nearly 7.5 percent growth during 2002.

The study, which has consistently tracked U.S. club membership since 1987, found that the total number of health club members has increased by some 6.8 million Americans or 23 percent since 1998.

“Health clubs and fitness centers, more so than any other exercise option, provide Americans with a convenient and fun destination where people can find a sense of community while doing something good for themselves,” observed IHRSA executive director, John McCarthy.

“Given the current state of the economy and world affairs, it makes sense that Americans are searching for places that are familiar and provide positive relief from life's stresses, and clubs definitely meet that need.”

IHRSA expects that several factors will continue to support growth in health club membership, including:

  • A growing sense of urgency among Americans concerned about the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits.

  • The continued promotion of the benefits of exercise and physical activity by respected organizations like the U.S. Surgeon General.

  • The growing number of health clubs and fitness centers, that make it more convenient than ever for Americans to find a quality club.

  • U.S. Health Club Membership Growth by Year: (millions)

    2002 - 36.3
    2001 - 33.8
    2000 - 32.8
    1999 - 30.6
    1998 - 29.5