Could spending less time on housework be making Americans fatter? A study of American women's cleaning habits from 1965 to 2010 shows that the amount of time spent on housework by non-working women fell nearly in half, from 25.7 hours a week to just 13.3 hours, while sedentary time (ie, parked in front of a TV or computer) more than doubled to 16.5 hours a week. That works out to 360 fewer calories burned each day, reports the New York Times.
"Those are large reductions in energy expenditure," said the study's lead author. Even for working women, 132 fewer housework-related calories were burned. The good news is that his prescription isn't necessarily more hours behind a vacuum; he acknowledges that advances in cleaning technology make tasks like that quicker and easier than they once were. But he does recommend that we inventory our at-home activity, and try to lessen the amount of time spent in a chair.