Recently published research indicates that under-exercising, rather than over-eating, is at the heart of the obesity epidemic. Over the past twenty years, the number of women who report getting no exercise has jumped from 19% to more than half. Black and Mexican-American women showed the greatest decrease in exercise. Men have a four-fold increase in lack of exercise. Children with an obese sibling were more likely to be obese, and the hours of screen time are directly correlated with weight.
The greater the body mass index (BMI), the greater the risk of dying from underlying disease. People with a BMI greater than 40 are ‘robbed of 6 ½ years of expected life span.’ The most obese will die 14 years earlier (controlling for other diseases and conditions).
It doesn’t take a lot of exercise to make a big difference. One hour of exercise can counteract the effect of sitting for seven hours at the workplace. Sustained exercise for thirty minutes gives the most cardiovascular benefit, but committing to six ten minute intervals over the course of the day will put a person into a different statistical risk pool. An hour is too much? The Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.