Entries in Housework (2)


Study Tying Women’s Weight Gain to Housework Draws Fire for Coke Link

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A group of researchers now says that one reason modern women may be packing on the pounds is because they’re not doing the heavy lifting around the house that they once did.

“We looked at 91 different activities — going to the gym, walking the dog — and the only thing that influenced their energy expenditure was the work in the home,” said Edward Archer, a University of South Carolina research fellow and the study’s lead author. “That’s why the study focused on that.”

In the study, a team of University of South Carolina researchers at the Arnold School of Public Health compared the activity logs kept by stay-at-home women from 1965 until today and found that in 1965, women spent 25.7 hours a week pushing tank-like vacuums, dusting, mopping, cooking and washing.

But in 2010, women spent 13.3 hours a week on household chores — and they are also 22 pounds heavier than their 1965 counterparts.

The results were published this month in PLOS One.


Archer said the study was not intended to tell women they are fat because they don’t do housework.

“The take-home message is not that women should be doing more housework but rather that women and individuals in general should find ways of integrating physical activity into their day,” Archer said. “How you spend your day determines health....How you spend your day determines the health of the next generation.”

Other experts, however, said the obesity epidemic was caused by a long list of factors that included not just physical activity but diet, genetics and economic status. They also questioned the motives of Coca-Cola, which sponsored the study.

“It makes no sense for Coca-Cola to be funding studies on causes of obesity because they are one of the causes for obesity,” said Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for food policy and obesity at Yale University. “It would be like taking money from the tobacco industry to find other causes of lung cancer. It really makes no sense at all.”

Women also fired back on Twitter.

“The 1950s called and they want their article back,” said one tweet.

Archer said the source of the study’s funding was “irrelevant.”

“We should be turning focus on ourselves,” he said. “What we can do for ourselves, especially in the context of our health and especially in the context of our children.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Less Housework Correlates with Weight Gain in Women, Study Suggests 

(Tom Morello/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) -- Over the past 50 years the American workforce has changed. Many workers spend most of their jobs sitting down in front of a computer, and women have become a full part of the workforce. A new, and somewhat controversial, study proposes that this shift to a desk and away from heavy vacuum cleaners is causing American women to gain weight.

The study, published this February, relied upon an extensive archive of “time-diaries” from the American Heritage Time Use Stud. It found that back in 1965 women spent an average of 25.7 hours a week cleaning, cooking and doing laundry, but by 2010 that number had shrunk to an average of 13.3 hours per week.

“Those are large reductions in energy expenditure,” said Dr. Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

As the years went by women started to work more and spent more time watching, television, using home computers and other sedentary activities, and less time exerting themselves through hours of chores.

Chores became easier and took less energy, too, as technology advances such as gliding vacuums made housework less of an ordeal even when it was done.

Dr. Archer stressed that the study does not imply that women should spend more time in the kitchen or doing chores, rather that it just illustrates a change in lifestyle trends and the importance of staying active. He encouraged everyone to make an effort to be more active at home and in their daily lives by walking out to the mailbox, playing with a dog, and  just doing the little things that add up to burn calories and keep us fit.

“The data clearly shows,” Dr. Archer said, "that even at home, we need to be in motion."

 Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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