HARTSDALE, NY — A record number of Americans are now members of health clubs, according to the Health Club Trend Report from American Sports Data. The number of members age 6 and older climbed 4.5 percent from 39.4 million in January 2004 to 41.3 million in January 2005. Harvey Lauer, president and founder of American Sports Data, said the numbers would continue growing.

“By the year 2050, everyone will be participating in fitness,” Lauer said. He expects the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association to meet its 100 million by 2010 campaign's goal, which is to have 50 million club members in the United States by 2010.

Rick Caro, the CEO of Management Vision, attributed the increase in health club members to a greater awareness about the benefits of exercise.

“No one can go a full week or even a day without seeing some information about how regular exercise can prevent illness, disease or injury,” Caro said. “More doctors are also talking to their patients about the importance of exercise and asking lifestyle questions.”

The Health Club Trend Report tracks and analyzes health club membership by demographics, frequency of attendance, activity participation, competitive facility patronage and membership fees. The study, which is sponsored by IHRSA, concluded that 48 percent of American health club members are men and 52 percent are women. Twenty-nine percent of the health club members are between the ages of 18 and 34. Thirty-five percent are between 35 and 54, and 25 percent are over the age of 55.

The data for this study came from the Superstudy of Sports Participation, a national consumer mail panel survey of 25,000 adults and children. Sixty-one percent of the households responded to the surveys.