Leisure Is Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be
I’ll probably never love doing housework, but I might start looking at it as a two-birds-with-one-stone opportunity from now on.
Yesterday, I talked about a new study, which reported that the amount of housework done by women today is half what the average housewife did in 1965. While mid-60s housewives would undoubtedly have greeted such news with glee, the trend may not be as wonderful as it appears. Energy expended doing housework—and calories burned—has plummeted by a whopping 42%. Would you expect there’s been an equivalent drop in caloric intake among America’s housewives? Unfortunately, there has not. In fact, caloric intake has only increased. Is it any wonder we’re staggering under the crushing weight of an obesity epidemic?
The study suggests that spending less time doing physical work, and more time sitting in front of electronic media—including watching television and spending time online, or texting on the phone—is not in your body’s best interest. In fact, the study also concluded that women are spending 25% more of their time sitting in front of “screen-based media.”
Trading activity for sitting “has important health consequences,” wrote the researchers, who also noted that this change in women’s behavior “may have contributed to the increasing prevalence of obesity...during the last five decades.” That’s something to think about the next time you sit down in front of your computer instead of firing up the vacuum cleaner.
Archer E, Shook RP, Thomas DM, Church TS, Katzmarzyk PT, Hébert JR, et al. 45-Year Trends in Women's Use of Time and Household Management Energy Expenditure. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056620. Epub 2013 Feb 20.
Chun OK, Chung CE, Wang Y, Padgitt A, Song WO. Changes in intakes of total and added sugar and their contribution to energy intake in the U.S. Nutrients. 2010 Aug;2(8):834-54. doi: 10.3390/nu2080834. Epub 2010 Aug 3.