News / Health

    Study: Obesity Surge Fueled by Sedentary Lifestyle

    File - Obesity is on the rise in the U.S. and worldwide
    File - Obesity is on the rise in the U.S. and worldwide

    Related Articles

    Study: Extreme Obesity Cuts 14 Years Off Life

    Research shows those who are extremely overweight are at greater risk of dying early from heart disease, cancer, diabetes or a stroke

    Super-sized sodas, cheap junk food and huge portions at restaurants might not be what’s really feeding the U.S. obesity epidemic.
     
    Many Americans have stopped doing any sort of physical activity.
     
    Using data from the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers from Stanford University’s School of Medicine showed that while caloric intake appears not to have risen, inactivity has surged.
     
    According to the CDC, NHANES is “a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations.”
     
    The data revealed that between 1988 and 2010, women who reported not engaging in physical activity rose from 19 percent to 52 percent. For men, the number bounced from 11 percent to 43 percent.
     
    During that timeframe, obesity rates increased from 25 to 35 percent among women and from 20 to 35 percent among men.

    Obesity has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, as well as increased mortality.

    “What struck us the most was just how dramatic the change in leisure-time physical activity was,” said Dr. Uri Ladabaum, associate professor of gastroenterology and lead author of the study in a statement. “Although we cannot draw conclusions about cause and effect from our study, our findings support the notion that exercise and physical activity are important determinants of the trends in obesity.”

    That so many Americans engage in no physical activity could be because lives are busier and that sedentary activities such as using computers, tablets, smartphones as well playing video games is on the rise.
     
    “This is a part of the equation that we have not looked at before,” said Dr. Gurkirpal Singh, a co-author of the study, which will appear in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
     
    The trend is likely to continue as young Americans are seeing less physical activity.
     
    A CDC study earlier this year that utilized NHANES data showed that half of boys between 12 and 15 years old and one third of girls had adequate levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. The percentage of those children who had adequate levels of fitness plunged from 52.4 percent in 1999 to 42.2. percent in 2012.
     
    The Stanford researchers are quick to point out that the study does not suggest that active people can eat what they want.

    Singh says researchers want to emphasize how a lack of activity will affect health.
     
    While the study defined “ideal” exercise as “more than 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or more than 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise,” Singh said any exercise is better than none.

    “The biggest gains from physical activity occurs from zero to something,” he said. “That’s a sharp rise. The more you do the better, but the incremental advantage [of doing more] is nowhere close what is achieved from zero to something.”
     
    He said people shouldn’t be discouraged by the ideal amounts and that small things like taking the stairs or walking a small distance can be beneficial.
     
    There are two caveats to the research.
     
    First, while the study shows a correlation between obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, it was observational and therefore can “not address the possible causal link between inactivity and weight gain.”
     
    Also, since the data about activity and calorie intake are self-reported, “participants may have been tempted to under-report how much they ate.”
     
    In an editorial published with the research, the journal’s managing editor, Pamela Powers Hannley, called the study “a clarion call.”

    In a news release she called obesity a “complex, multifaceted problem linked to a variety of societal factors,” adding that just telling patients to work out won’t be enough.

    “Communities, employers and local governments to enable healthy lifestyles by ensuring that there are safe spaces to exercise that are cheap or free,” she said.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.