February 21, 2014

I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT DIET MATTERED MORE THAN EXERCISE FOR WEIGHT CONTROL, BUT THERE’S THIS: Average obese woman gets just 1 hour of exercise a year.

A new study suggests that obese women get just one hour of vigorous exercise a year, while obese men don’t do much better at fewer than four hours.

The findings startled the researchers, whose main focus was finding better ways to measure how much exercise people get.

“They’re living their lives from one chair to another,” said Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “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.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three people in the United States is obese, a step above being overweight. Obesity boosts the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke, diabetes and some cancers.

Even if you didn’t lose any weight, doing even an hour a week of vigorous exercise would do you a lot of good.