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Fitness Industry Has $22B Impact on US Economy

Fitness Industry Has $22B Impact on US Economy

As fitness industry leaders advocate for the passage of bills like the PHIT Act, new data shows the industry’s growing importance in America

The health and fitness industry has a robust $22.4 billion economic impact on the U.S. economy, according to new data released by the Health & Fitness Association summarizing the cumulative effect of 55,294 U.S. health club and studio locations. The data was presented this week during the association’s Fly-In and Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C.

“When I was hired by the board almost three years ago, one of my goals was to be able to share real numbers about the value our industry creates in this country,” said Health & Fitness Association president and CEO Liz Clark. “This data makes that goal a reality.”

The health club and studios contributed 432,942 direct jobs in the U.S., $10.7 billion in direct wages, $5.29 billion in federal taxes and $5.35 billion in state and local taxes, according to data compiled by John Dunham and Associates for the Health & Fitness Association (formerly known as IHRSA). Suppliers contributed 60,625 U.S. jobs and $4 billion in wages.

The data collected on the health and fitness industry doesn’t include not-for-profit organizations like YMCAs, so the industry’s full impact on the American economy may be even larger. 

Additional data collected for the upcoming 2024 U.S. Health and Fitness Consumer Report shows that the U.S. has more than 72 million health club and studio members and a higher percentage of active fitness facility members than any country except Sweden. The report will be released in stages in the coming months by the Health & Fitness Association.

The findings also reveal that Americans pay an average of $59 per month for membership, while 41 percent of facility users pay $25 or less per month.

The data is more than just eye-opening; it’s being used to educate members of Congress about the fitness industry’s impact on the country. 

As part of the Health & Fitness Association’s Fly-In and Advocacy Summit held May 7-8, over 115 attendees representing health clubs, studios and suppliers descended on Capitol Hill to advocate for the passage of bills including the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act.

The Health & Fitness Association has been working tirelessly to encourage support for the PHIT Act, which, if passed, would allow Americans to use pre-tax dollars on gym memberships, fitness equipment and youth sports.

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In March, Clark told attendees at IHRSA 2024 that it was time to “crank up the incline and accelerate the pace” as she revealed the association’s new name.

“We have dramatically increased our media exposure and recognition,” Clark said of the health and fitness industry. “This is why the White House, the CDC, congressional leaders and policymakers now seek out our team for input. We are not just finding respect, we are earning it — and we are just getting started.”

Mike Goscinski, Health & Fitness Association vice president of government affairs, said that the data from the economic impact study and upcoming Consumer Report show just how essential the health and fitness industry is to the economy of the country and the physical and mental health of Americans.

“This data is an essential part of our campaign to educate representatives, senators and their staff about the mental and physical health benefits of exercise–and about the size and scope of the businesses where consumers exercise,” Goscinski said.

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