Shocking Trend of Inactivity Adds to Rise in Obesity

Friday, July 25, 2014
Shocking Trend of Inactivity Adds to Rise in Obesity (photo by LivligaHome)

It should not be a surprise to any of us that lack of exercise contributes to our weight gain, our growing health issues and the increase in the obesity epidemic. What is shocking is the soaring escalation in our inactivity in a little over a decade. Here is a summary of the recent research out of Stanford Medical School:

Overeating may not be the chief cause of America’s obesity epidemic. New research from Stanford Medical School indicates the real culprit is too little exercise—indeed, too little physical activity of any kind. From 1994 to 2010, the percentage of adult women who did no physical activity in their spare time climbed from 19 percent to nearly 52 percent, while the number of sedentary men increased from 11 percent to almost 44 percent. “We suspected there was a trend in that direction, but not to that magnitude,” Stanford’s Uri Ladabaum tells the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, over that same period, the average body mass index for women went up by 0.37 percent per year. But in the study’s key finding, researchers saw no evidence of an increase in overall calorie consumption. The study drew on self-reported data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A separate review of 20 long-term studies showed that obesity can shorten life expectancy by 6 ½ to 14 years compared with people of normal weight. Those who are extremely obese also have an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, among other illnesses.

Published in The Week, July 25, 2014.

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