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Average obese woman gets less than an hour of exercise per year

According to HealthDay News on Thursday, a new study shows that obese women get just one hour of vigorous exercise a year, while obese men don't do much better at fewer than four hours.

In the process of validating a new method for calculating physical activity, sedentary behavior and food energy requirements, researchers from University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health found that as a nation, Americans spend more than 15 hours per day sleeping and sitting, and that obese men and women spend less than one minute per day in vigorous activity.

The study, led by Arnold School exercise scientist and epidemiologist Edward Archer and published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, used accelerometry based technology to validate a protocol for calculating energy expenditure and food energy requirements. This study of the Physical Activity Ratio (PAR) protocol provides the first national estimates of total daily energy expenditure, physical activity and sedentary behavior for the US population, according to a press release announcing the findings.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three people in the United States is obese, a step above being overweight. Obesity boosts the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke, diabetes and some cancers.

In the new study, researchers examined the results of a 2005-2006 government survey of adults aged 20 to 74. Among other things, the survey tracked the weight, diet and sleep patterns of nearly 2,600 adults.

Accelerometer devices were used to track their movements, providing insight into how much they exercised.

The study found that obese men and women were significantly less physically active and spent more time in sedentary behaviors than their normal weight counterparts. These groups also got less sleep and spent almost no time engaged in more intense forms of physical activity.

One expert did note that the definition of vigorous exercise was very limited in the study, and the researchers themselves acknowledged that the device used to track physical activity did not measure swimming or biking very well.

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Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.

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