Fitness facilities for adults: differences in perceived access and usage

Am J Prev Med. 2007 Jun;32(6):500-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2007.02.003.


Background: Perceived access to places for physical activity may play an important role in influencing physical activity behavior. Little is known about the prevalence of perceived access to facilities for physical activity.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of a national sample of 27,894 adults from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey was performed to describe the characteristics of those who perceived that they have access to fitness facilities, and determine the prevalence of perceived access, reported use of fitness facilities, and reported barriers to the use of fitness facilities. Analyses were conducted in 2005 and 2006.

Results: Approximately 61% of adults reported having access to fitness facilities. Perceived access was highest among adults aged 34 and younger, non-Hispanic whites, those with a college education, among adults with a body mass index of less than 35 kg/m(2), and among those with higher physical activity levels. The most commonly reported perceived barrier to access was cost. Almost 21% of U.S. adults (37.0% of active, 19.9% of intermittently active, 6.0% of inactive) reported having used a health club, wellness program, or fitness facility at least ten times during the past year.

Conclusions: Fitness facilities provide one option for increasing access to places to be physically active. Having access to fitness facilities is significantly associated with physical activity levels among U.S. adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Architectural Accessibility*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Fitness Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States