A study of obese women revealed that they get only one hour of vigorous exercise a year on average. Obese men don’t exercise much more, registering less than four hours of rigorous exercise per year.
“They’re living their lives from one chair to another,” said Dr. Edward Archer from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In his interview with HealthDay, Archer said that there are some obese individuals that are “vigorously active, but it’s offset by the huge number of individuals who are inactive.”
The findings were culled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 of 2,600 U.S. adults. The researchers defined vigorous exercise as that which burns fat, such as jogging or jumping rope, but not sexual activity. Archer said, “There is a great deal of variability – some are moving probably a fair amount. But the vast majority [of people] are not moving at all.” Most obese people can probably live a “typical life,” which according to the doctor means driving their kids to school, sitting down watching TV, and playing video games in the evening.
John Jakicic, chair of the department of health and physical activity at the University of Pittsburgh, says that the survey’s findings seem “startling” but that they are “misleading.” According to Jakicic, the definition of rigorous exercise was limited and does not take into account their level of fitness. For example, the health and fitness expert said that for very obese people, just walking should be considered as vigorous exercise.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three people in the United States is obese, which is considered to be a step beyond being overweight. Obesity raises the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. Dr. Archer explained that just 30 minutes of exercise five days a week can prevent weight gain and benefit overall health.