Sorry, Housework's Not Making You Thinner

A survey of UK residents revealed that those who claimed to meet the minimum recommended amount of weekly exercise tended to be heavier if they stated that part of that exercise included housework.

What's the Latest Development?

Forty-three percent of UK residents who took the University of Ulster's Sport NI Sport & Physical Activity Survey (SAPAS) reported that they performed the minimum weekly amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity -- 150 minutes -- as recommended by the governmental Department of Health. However, those who included housework as part of that exercise tended to be heavier than those who didn't, according to a study of the survey data published in BMC Public Health. Furthermore, when housework was removed from the equation, only 20 percent of women respondents met the minimum recommended amount.

What's the Big Idea?

As most of us know, the relative vigor associated with "housework" can vary depending on what's being done. However, study leader and University of Ulster professor Marie Murphy says that the inverse relationship between the amount of housework reported and the leanness of the person reporting "suggests that either people are overestimating the amount of moderate-intensity physical activity they do through housework, or are eating too much to compensate for the amount of activity undertaken." She goes on to recommend that health professionals do a better job of communicating what is meant by "moderate to vigorous" exercise.

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