New research claims that obese women get a total of 1 hour of vigorous exercise per year. That is approximately 5 minutes a month or 1.15 minutes a week. Or in other words, that is really sad. However, my experience makes me believe it is true. I cannot tell you how many women have let me know they regularly exercise because they mow the lawn (on a riding lawn mower) and vacuum the house. That is not exercise, that is just doing something! The surprising thing to me is that these sedentary, obese adults were not sedentary obese children. Somewhere along the way, their lifestyle slowed down and their caloric intake sped up. It was an adult lifestyle transformation. Now, 20 years later, it is difficult and for many not possible to resume strenuous physical activity due to the deterioration of the body that has occurred.
This research is on women and men who were children of a different era, before the obesity epidemic swept our nation. These are adults who played and ran outside after school and did not have diabetes and hypertension at the age of 15. This research makes me wonder about this next generation. This obese generation that has never exercised more than 1 hour per year. The generation that is growing up in front of iPads, computers, and TVs. The girls who are starting puberty at 7 and 8 years old. What health challenges will we face and is our medical system prepared to handle it?
In my own opinion as a health professional, I don't think we are ready. I don't see medical education shifting its focus, and I don't see preventative measures being financially supported. Educated, health conscious people are maintaining their health independent from the healthcare system and educating their children to do the same. Maybe the next challenge this country will face is not the "haves" and the "have nots" but the "physically able" and the "physically disabled" simply due to inactivity. Although the research is new, the acceptance of a sedentary lifestyle is not and our children are the ones who are really going to suffer. This makes me want to go exercise.
Nutrition from the dietitian
Blog of Abrea Nutrition.