HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Obese women exercise only one hour a year

The average obese woman gets only one hour of vigorous exercise each year, according to a new study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Obese men don’t fair much better, according to the study. They get less than four hours per year.

The findings surprised researchers, who were mainly trying to find better ways to measure exercise, according to a HealthDay News story.

“They’re living their lives from one chair to another,” Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told HealthDay. “We didn’t realize we were that sedentary. There are some people who are vigorously active, but it’s offset by the huge number of individuals who are inactive.”

Researchers used accelerometer devices to track movements. The study defined “vigorous exercise” as activities that burn fat, such as jogging and jumping rope, according to the story.

One expert not related to the study, however, cautioned that vigorous is relative to a person’s fitness level. For some severely obese people, walking could be a vigorous activity, according to a Time story.

Using the study definition of vigorous activity, researchers found that the average obese woman gets the equivalent of about one hour of exercise each year, while obese men get about 3.6 hours.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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