Footwear Business Still Making Strides
For the third straight year, athletic footwear sales have increased, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) International’s 2003 edition of The Athletic Footwear Market Today, a trade publication that tracks retail spending trends. American consumers spent almost $16 billion on athletic shoes in 2002, an increase of 2.5 percent over the previous year. Here are some other trends reported by SGMA:
- The average price of a pair of athletic shoes was $36.61, but buyers under age 24 were inclined to spend more (about $50).
- Retro styles (shoe models popular 20 to 30 years ago) are gaining in popularity.
- Basketball shoes showed the highest increase in sales.
- Younger purchasers (13 to 24 years old) make more than 30 percent of all athletic footwear purchases.
Researchers in Barcelona were recently surprised to learn that mild exercise such as walking can reduce the rate of hospitalization for men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People who suffer from COPD typically have a combination of lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which are usually linked to smoking. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
Over a period of 1.1 years, the researchers observed 340 men with diagnosed COPD. During that time, 63 percent of patients were readmitted to the hospital, and 29 percent died. Compared to the sedentary patients, those who did the equivalent of 1 hour of walking per day had about half the risk of being hospitalized.
“This is the first study to show a strong association between usual physical activity and reduced risk of readmission to hospital with COPD. [This] is potentially relevant for rehabilitation and other therapeutic strategies,” the authors concluded in the February 1 issue of the journal Thorax.
In an article posted on the HealthCentral Internet site, the study’s lead researcher said she was surprised at these findings. “In fact, we would have expected the inverse association,” said Judith Garcia-Aymerich.