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Pickleball, a Cure for the U.S. Obesity Epidemic?

New insights from OvareVentures brand, Pickleball University, reveal why pickleball could be a tool in America’s battle with the bulge

Cincinnati, Ohio (October 25, 2022) – In one of the largest surveys of pickleball players in the U.S., the number one reason people play the sport is that it’s fun, and 80% of respondents play it multiple times per week.

If pickleball is an activity that people genuinely enjoy, and studies have shown players can burn an average of 350 calories in an hour of match play, perhaps there is an opportunity for this quirky sport to play a role in curbing America’s rising obesity rates.

Pickleball University® (PBU), a media outlet owned by OvareVentures and dedicated to spreading the growth of pickleball, recently surveyed over 3,000 players to learn more about the sport and uncover insights to help grow it further.

For 42% of respondents, fun is the primary reason they play pickleball, with exercise coming in second at 30%.

“Pickleball’s superpower is that it’s fun,” said Steve Leder, PBU’s cofounder. “It is a lot easier to motivate people to play pickleball than it may be to get them to go for a jog or swim laps in a pool.”

With more than 70% of PBU’s survey responses coming from players over 55, pickleball may be incredibly effective in fighting obesity in seniors. While fun is the dominant driver of play across all ages, exercise becomes increasingly more important to hit the court as players age. Exercise never quite reaches as high of a response level as fun, but it does get close in the 65+ age grouping, with 41% choosing fun as their primary reason to play vs. 38% who play for exercise.  

One interesting gender difference in PBU’s survey is that women are less likely to play with strangers. This is because men are more willing to show up at the local courts and play with anyone at the court, while women prefer to play with people they know, like friends or family. For example, 44% of male respondents in the survey indicated they play pickleball with strangers and people they know, vs. 39% of females.

To learn more about pickleball in the U.S. from its players, read the entire 2022 Pickleball University® Participation Study Results here.  

PBU partnered with Baddle, JustPaddles and World Pickleball to conduct this survey.

About Pickleball University (PBU)

Pickleball University® is part of the outdoor and recreational product portfolio of OvareVentures, a part of the OvareGroup. PBU is a media outlet dedicated to spreading the growth of pickleball, welcoming newcomers with easy ways to learn the game and offering strategies and tips for pickleball pros. launched in 2021 and has amassed a pickleball community from all over the world. Learn more at 

About OvareVentures

OvareVentures is a dedicated growth initiative of OvareGroup. OvareVentures builds, acquires and invests in businesses that can benefit from the working synergy of the OvareGroup suite of services. OvareVentures aligns with companies through direct investment or work equity positions to realize business opportunities and increase ROI. Learn more at