The Mayo Clinic maintains that “moms today spend more time in sedentary endeavors than they spend cooking, cleaning, and exercising combined” (www.WESTNEWSMAGAZINENETWORK.COM). Edward Archer, exercise scientist and epidemiologist from Arnold School of Public Health, reviewed health and exercise records from nearly 50 years, spanning the mid-1960s to present.
In his study, Archer disaggregated the findings, depending upon the mother’s employment status and age of the children. He also looked at both a decrease in time spent in physical activity as well as an increase in time spent in sedentary behavior. Physical activity included any combination of time spent caring for and playing with children, preparing and cleaning up after meals, other housework, and sports and exercise. There was a group for mothers of children five years and under, and another group of mothers with children six through eighteen.
1. Mothers in the first group showed a decline of physical activity of 14 hours per week.
Mothers in the second group showed a decline of 11 hours per week.
2. Mothers in the first group reported average weekly increase in sedentary activity of six hours per week.
Mothers in the second group reported a similar increase of seven hours per week.
3. Moreover, non-employed mothers from the first group had a 14 hour reduction in physical activity, compared to employed mothers of similar-aged children, who had a five-hour per week decline.
4. Non-employed mothers from the second group increased sedentary behavior by eight hours per week, while employed mothers of similar-aged children increased the same by nearly seven hours per week.
This shift may not only be a problem with women, however. According to preliminary results from a news release from the University of South Carolina, men likewise show similar decrease in physical activity as well as even greater increases in screen-time. Inactivity has recently become a leading cause of death and disease in developed nations.
If you are having trouble giving higher priority to your health for personal reasons, maybe you can justify doing it for your kids. I’m sure they would like you to be here with them for longer, feeling your best. Just around the corner, is the new year. Join me in making 2014 a year you commit to taking care of yourself…and sticking with it after the snows of January come and go.