A new study, published this month in PLoS One, claims that American women are overweight because they are doing less vacuuming and laundry at home than in the past.
According to the New York Times, Dr. Edward Archer and his team used an archive of time-use diaries from the American Heritage Time Use Study, which were provided by thousands of women from 1965 to 2010.
They pulled data from the diaries about how many hours the women were spending in various activities, how many calories they likely burned and how their activities changed over the years.
They found, in 1965, an average woman spent 25.7 hours a week cleaning, cooking and doing laundry, which required considerable energy.
Forty-five years later, in 2010, the time-use diaries showed that women were spending an average of 13.3 hours per week on housework.
The diary entries also showed that in 1965, women typically spent about eight hours a week sitting and watching television. By 2010, those hours were up to 16.5 hours per week. Many women had exchanged time spent on household chores for time spent watching TV.
According to the study, women not employed outside the home were burning about 360 fewer calories every day in 2010 than they had in 1965, with working women burning about 132 fewer calories at home each day in 2010 than in 1965.
Dr. Archer, a research fellow with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, said that would result, over the years, in significant weight gain. He added that “we need to start finding ways to incorporate movement back into” the hours spent at home.
Source: New York Times