BOSTON — Preliminary results from the annual Health Club Trend Report found that Americans who belong to health clubs and fitness centers visited their clubs an average of 92 days in 2002, a 9.5 percent increase in the average number of days members logged since 1997. The study, conducted by American Sports Data Inc. and sponsored by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), also found that total U.S. health club membership grew by more than 7 percent to 36.3 million members last year.

The number of times a member visits his or her health club represents a key indication of member satisfaction and has climbed steadily since the inception of the Health Club Trend Report.

“The fact that U.S. health club membership has reached a record high, combined with the fact that members continue to use their clubs more frequently is a very positive sign,” observed John McCarthy, IHRSA's executive director. “As more Americans struggle with the many physical and financial problems associated with obesity, it is encouraging to note that the club industry continues to help a growing number of people adopt more active and healthier lifestyles.”

IHRSA attributed the steady increase in health club membership and frequency of health club visits to a combination of factors, including an abundance of exercise options, heightened consumer awareness and commitment to personal health and wellness, and the creation of health clubs, programs and services designed to meet a broad range of Americans' fitness goals.