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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid