Good News: Americans are Spending More Time Outdoors


Photo: Kennan Harvey for Outdoor Industry Association

The US Outdoor Foundation have just released their Outdoor Recreation Participation report and the results, whilst not stupendous, are at least encouraging. Participation in "core" outdoor sports and activities was seen to have increased 3.3% from 97.5 million to 100.7 million Americans ages 6 and above. For example, day hiking remained strong, with 32.6 million participants, though overnight backpacking did exhibit a small drop. However general camping increased almost 2%.

The activity with one of the most significant increase was snowshoeing, which recorded a jump of 17.4% from 2.9 million to 3.4 million. (And from a treehuggery point of view it is exciting to note that snowmobiling was the only monitored winter sport to show a decline.)
Photos: Outdoor Foundation

Christine Fanning, Executive Director of Outdoor Foundation. is quoted as saying, "We see the economy driving people back to nature. This has tremendous implications for health and wellness issues surrounding the sharp increases in childhood obesity," She observes that, "Outdoor recreation is finally being recognized as part of the solution. Our position is that nature should be the first prescription."

Still on the childhood obesity point, the study found that "There is clear evidence that those who are active during their school years are more active as adults." Their statistics suggest that kids who are active during their school years are three times more likely to be super active as adults, and more than twice as likely to take part in high calorie burning activities.

Not that this means the USA can now rest on its laurels, in fact, there may be too much resting already happening. The study also found, startlingly, that "over 50% of Americans take part in no activities at all or are infrequent participants." By 'activities' we believe the Outdoor Foundation refer to the 117 sports fitness and recreation activities they monitor through such surveys. And in this instance a total of 15,067 individual and 25,074 household surveys were completed.

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit established by the US Outdoor Industry Association to inspire and grow future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.

Detailed results from the study can be viewed in a downloadable PDF and a precise covered in the Outdoor Foundation's media release.

(We spotted it via Sports One Source - subscription may be required.).

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Tags: Camping | United States

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