Time — The rise in obesity among Americans shows no signs of slowing, and the reasons why can be traced to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle that keeps people inactive, and eating, for more hours of the day.
The problem is especially concerning among children and teens, according to the latest study published in Preventive Medicine. The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey from 2003-2004 and 2005-2006. More than 12,500 people ages 6 to 84 years wore activity trackers to log how many of their waking hours they spent active and how many they spent sitting.
Not surprisingly, the older people got, the less active they were. The slowdown starts at age 35, a time of increasing demands of work and family responsibilities. By older age, medical issues and chronic diseases may prevent people from being as physically active as they would like. People in their 20s were the only age group to show increases in physical activity—especially in the early morning—compared to adolescents.
The most alarming data came from children and teens. While young children are often thought to be the most active, the numbers showed that rates of exercise actually declined during the teen years. In fact, 19 year olds age spent as much time being inactive and sedentary as 60 year olds. “It was definitely a big surprise,” says Vadim Zipunnikov, the study’s senior author from the department of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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