Obesity and Sitting

Charlie Karns, part of the Outreach and Networking Team at WeightLossGroup.org in partnership with StartStanding.org

shared with Healthy Lombard the following article by Mary Sweeney RN, BSN, CEN, ONN-CG

Obesity Burdens 33% Of Adults

Obesity has become one of the biggest health issues in the United States – according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), almost 35% of adults and 17% of youth in the U.S. are overweight. It’s been linked to some of the leading causes of death in the U.S. such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Traditionally, it’s been thought that obesity is caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. However, recent research has shown that a sedentary lifestyle and the amount of time spent sitting on a daily basis may be a major contributing factor.

The Link Between Sitting And Obesity

A recent study conducted in London has shown that both the amount of time sitting and the amount of exercise you get every week affects your chances of obesity. Those who engaged in low levels of exercise had an 8% rate of obesity, as compared to those who engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise, who had a 4.8% rate of obesity (defined at 4.25 hours per week). After 10 years, the rates were 6.9% for the active group and 11.9% for the sedentary group. High levels of exercise were associated with a 36% reduced risk of obesity after 5 years, and 37% after 10 years. When you add sitting into the equation, those who had the exercised the most and sat the least had a 74% lower risk of obesity after 5 years, and after 10 years, 49%.

TV Watching And Obesity

There is a logical link between how much TV you watch and your chances of becoming obese. Essentially, the more TV you watch, the more sedentary you are. The more sedentary you are, the higher your chances of being overweight. Still skeptical? Let’s see what the research says.

The link between TV watching and obesity was established by Harvard University over 25 years ago, leading many health organizations to recommend that children and teens limit TV and media time to no more than two hours per day. The Harvard School of Public Health website explains that TV watching could promote obesity by displacing time for physical activity, promoting poor diets, giving more opportunities for unhealthy snacking (during TV viewing), as well as possibly interfering with sleep.

Research has also shown that excessive TV watching or media use in children can be harmful to their development and can put them at higher risk for obesity. Many studies, such as one published by the National Institutes of Health, have found that the more TV a child watches, the more likely they are to be overweight. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, children who have TVs in their bedrooms are also more likely to gain excess weight than children who don’t. Furthermore, there’s evidence that TV viewing rates in childhood predict obesity risk well into adulthood. As “Generation M” (for media) continues to spend more time in front of a screen, rates of obesity in children may rise.

The link between TV watching and obesity isn’t limited to just the children of the world – another JAMA study followed more than 50,000 middle-aged women for 6 years and found that for every two hours the women spent watching TV, they had a 23% higher risk of becoming obese, as well as a 14% greater risk of diabetes. In order to combat the effects of excessive TV watching no matter what the age group, there are now devices that you can connect to a TV or video game that will limit use based on how it’s programmed (such as BOB – Screen Time Manager.)

To read the entire article, click here.

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