A recent study has shed some light on the obesity epidemic in the United States. According to Edward Archer, a scientist from the University of South Carolina, American women have dramatically decreased their physical activity in the last forty years. The result is that women are becoming heavier as they lead more sedentary lives, and their children follow in their footsteps.
Physical activity is an essential component to leading healthier lives, and it is not limited to traditional exercise such as running, biking or swimming. Physical activity also includes the energy spent on tending to household chores or child-rearing. Thanks to the advent of spectator pastimes such as watching TV, mothers of young children decreased from 23 to 17 hours a week of physical activity in the past four decades. This roughly translates into a calorie excess of approximately 200 calories per day depending on the age of the children. According to the study led by Archer, stay-at-home moms were the most susceptible to significantly decreasing their level of activity.
The long term implications for the study include being one more piece of supporting evidence for the greatest health crisis today: the excessive weight Americans carry around that threatens to degenerate into other diseases. According to Archer, inactivity is one of the leading causes of death in industrialized countries.