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US mothers from 1965 to 2010: more TV, less housework
Date:12/2/2013

New research from the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health shows that mothers in the U.S. are far less physically active than they were in previous decades and now spend more time engaged in sedentary activities like watching television than in cooking, cleaning and exercising combined.

Given the essential role that daily physical activity plays in the health and wellbeing of mothers and their children, this research provides important insights into the nation's pervasive health problems such as childhood obesity and diabetes.

The study, led by Arnold School exercise scientist and epidemiologist Edward Archer and published in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, is a follow-up to a controversial study published earlier this year that demonstrated that in 2010, women spent 25 percent more time engaged in leisure-time computer use and watching TV than cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry combined.

The new research examined 45-year trends in maternal activity in two groups: mothers with younger children (5 years of age or less) and those with older children (age 6 to 18). During the 45-year span of the study, mothers with younger children reported a decline in physical activity of almost 14 hours per week (2 hours per day), from 44 hours per week in 1965 to less than 30 hours by 2010. This substantial decline in activity led to a decrease in energy expenditure of 225 calories per day (1573 calories per week).

Mothers with older children experienced an average decline of more than 11 hours per week, decreasing from 32 hours per week in 1965 to less than 21 hours in 2010. This led to a reduction in energy expenditure of 177 calories per day (1238 calories/week). This means mothers in 2010 would have to eat 175-225 less calories per day to maintain their weight than mothers in 1965.

These dramatic declines in physical activity and energy expenditure corresponded with large increases in sedentary behavio
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Contact: Jeff Stensland
stenslan@mailbox.sc.edu
803-777-3686
University of South Carolina
Source:Eurekalert

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