There is no question that our predominantly sedentary lifestyles have made us fat. This once again is confirmed in a new analysis of the US eating patterns and activity levels and blames our sedentary lifestyle for current obesity levels.
The study from Stanford University shows that Americans are apparently not eating any more than they have over the last 20 years, but what has changed is their predominantly desk based jobs, sedentary lives and lack of exercise.
The researchers studied data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. The data showed that between 1988 and 2010, the calorie intake of the population has not increased, based on overall total daily calorie, fat, carbohydrate, and protein consumption.
What has changed, however are exercise levels particularly for women. In 1988, 19% of adult US women said they weren’t involved in any physical activity, but by 2010 that had risen to 52%. The figures for men were 11%, rising to 44%.
Because we have evolved into a more sedentary species, our eating habits have to change to catch up. Exercise in the gym help make people fitter and healthier, but it’s extremely difficult to lose weight that way. It may well be possible to increase physical activity through exercise to balance our calorific intake, but that’s not easy either.
The message from medical professionals still has to be “cut the calories” or perhaps, “cut your calories to match your physical activity level.” Furthermore, once we’re overweight, we’re caught in a catch 22 situation. The body needs more calories just to keep warm and move around normally, so obesity increases the body’s demands for food and makes it harder to be active.
It’s fine to periodically take a break when our body is telling us to rest, just make sure it’s not a break that we permanently take. It’s easy to get into the habit of sitting for long periods of time.
We really do need to keep moving.