(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.”
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