We are now more sedentary than ever and it’s having a poor impact on our health.
Researchers compared daily habits of mums in the 1960s and the mums in 2010 and found that driving and ‘screen time’ means we move less.
A US study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings used data from 50,000 mums’ diaries spanning from 1965 to 2010.
In the last 50 years, the study found, mums’ activity levels have dropped meaning that cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes have risen.
The diaries of these women were divided into two groups: the first was women with children under five; the second was older children.
The key findings were:
- Mothers of under-fives in 2010 did 11.1 hours less exercise a week than mothers of under-fives in the 1960s (20.9 hours in 2010, and 32.0 in the 60s).
- Mothers of older children in 2010 did 13.9 hours less exercise a week than mothers of under-fives in the 1960s (29.7 hours in 2010, and 43.6 in the 60s).
- Sedentary behaviour increased by 7 hours a week in mothers of older children and 5.7 hours a week in mothers of under-fives.
- Mothers in the 1960s burned 1,237.6 fewer calories per week than they did in 2010.
But, says the NHS, this study has several limitations. “Women participating did not have their weight recorded. This is crucial in the calculation of energy expenditure,” it says.
“This is a US study and its results may not be applicable to other populations,” it goes on, “although it is fair to say that where the US leads, the UK usually follows.”