It Isn't Extra Food That's Making Us Fat
Food intake stayed steady while exercise rates fell
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2014 4:39 AM CDT
Updated Jul 9, 2014 7:23 AM CDT
Joggers are seen through public exercise equipment on Santa Monica Beach, in Santa Monica, Calif.    (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

(Newser) – Americans are a lot heftier than they were in 1988, but it's not because they're eating a lot more than they were a couple of decades ago; it's because they're sitting around a lot more, according to a new study. Researchers found that daily intake of calories changed little between 1988 and 2010, but the number of people who said they didn't do any physical activity in their spare time soared from 19% to 52% in women, and from 11% to 43% in men, the Los Angeles Times reports. "We wouldn't say that calories don't count, but the main takeaway is that we have to look very carefully at physical activity," says the lead researcher, a Stanford Medical School professor of gastroenterology. "The problem is not all in the intake of calories," he says, noting that "most people don't walk or bike to work, and most people are not in jobs that require physical activity."

The prevalence of obesity rose from 25% to 35% in women over the time period, and from 20% to 35% in men. But in an editorial accompanying the study, the managing editor of the American Journal of Medicine says the solution to obesity isn't as simple as telling people to get off the couch, CBS News reports. "If you are spending your time and energy just eking out a living for your family, it's not surprising that you're not exercising," she says. And food isn't off the hook completely, the director of policy at the World Obesity Federation tells the Guardian, explaining that eating habits need to change to match today's more sedentary lifestyles. "While it may be possible to raise your physical activity enough to match the amount of food you eat, it is not easy, so the message still has to be 'cut the calories' or perhaps 'cut your calories to match your physical activity level,'" he says.

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Showing 3 of 71 comments
Box1Car
Jul 11, 2014 10:05 PM CDT
Read "Fit or Fat" by Covert Bailey; its an owner's manual for the human body, explains how we can only burn sugar a long chain molecule and our own liver will link sugar molecules together to create fat molecules as an energy storage device for use later. But in order to extract a fat molecule and break it down we require enzymes that only come from Exercise. No Exercise and there's no enzyme mechanism to burn any fat The reason Walking & Jogging are best for you is that in order to stand erect with a 5 or 6 foot head of water, a human body req's 3 heart pumps, so we have Calves where a one way valve in the artery serves to force blood one way ( UP ) when exercised. Notice that 4 legged animals have NO calve muscles 'cuz they're not a requirement for blood to be circulated horizontally. Vertical circulation is an entirely different req't. To clear your arteries of cholesterol build up, read "The 8 week cholesterol cure" by Dr. Kowalski> His family history of heart attacks caused him to discover this cure Take 500mg of timed release Niacin w/ea meal for 1500mg/day total and eat as much OAT bran as U can to soak up cholesterol from your intestinal tract to flush it out back Niacin, a vitamin B complex, forces your liver to stop producing cholesterol, but your brain needs it for insulation, so your body "Self Cleanses" itself by stripping cholesterol from walls of ALL of your blood vessels and arteries> 8wks is sufficient time, no ma's Do this ONLY for 2months then go for a run. I did at age 47 and ran a mile faster than I had at age 17 when we won state on our high school basketball team> 6min mile My thot was "Man, I just discovered the Fountain of Youth" Do it every 3 or 4 yrs now I no longer wonder about heart attacks taking me> ain't gonna' happen
Northe
Jul 11, 2014 4:48 AM CDT
A calorie is not a calorie. We eat significantly more sugar than we did 30 years ago. So while we may be on par with the same calorie amount when compared to decades ago, the calories are now coming from a different source; i.e. more sugars, less fats and proteins. It's really very simple. Put down colas and processed junk, eat a steak and some veggies.
NorCalHal
Jul 11, 2014 12:43 AM CDT
I adopted an exercise program a few years ago as I grew older. I now toss, turn and jump around in bed most of the night. My wife says I run at the mouth occasionally and I sometimes jump to conclusions. I think all that should count as a 2-3 hour hard workout.