An article by health writer Tara Parker-Pope cites the sedentary workplace as the potential cause for obesity’s meteoric rise in the past few decades.
According to a study led by researchers from Louisiana State University:
Over the last 50 years in the U.S. we estimate that daily occupation-related energy expenditure has decreased by more than 100 calories, and this reduction in energy expenditure accounts for a significant portion of the increase in mean U.S. body weights for women and men. read more…
The report shows that in 1960, one out of two Americans had a job that was physically active. Now it is estimated that only one in five Americans achieves a relatively high level of physical activity at work.
“If we’re going to try to get to the root of what’s causing the obesity epidemic, work-related physical activity needs to be in the discussion,” said Dr. Timothy S. Church, a noted exercise researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and the study’s lead author. “There are a lot of people who say it’s all about food. But the work environment has changed so much we have to rethink how we’re going to attack this problem.” read more…
Here’s what Nestle, alongside with Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser had to say:
To the editor:
It makes sense that sedentary work is a factor in the current obesity epidemic (May 26). But it cannot be an important cause. The changing American workplace cannot explain why the obesity rate among the nation’s preschoolers has doubled in recent years and that among elementary schoolchildren has tripled.
The rise in obesity worldwide is linked to the embrace of the American diet, not to a decline in manufacturing.
In China, childhood obesity has increased at least five-fold since 1985.
Simplest explanations are usually best. Reversing obesity means eating less and making healthier food choices.
It also means making it easier to do that by setting policies that promote smaller portions, lower prices on fruits and vegetables, restrictions on marketing food to children, and healthier school meals.
Of course, an increase in well-paid manufacturing jobs would help too.
—Marion Nestle and Eric Schlosser
Our take: The junk food and fast food industry will have a field day with this report. It vindicates them. The fact that American kids are consuming 100′s more empty calories today than they did in the 1960′s is not important. It’s the fact that their moms are now working a desk job instead of in a factory that’s making them balloon.
What do you think?