Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Busy Mom?

In an article with a rather foretelling title "Maternal Inactivity", authors used national time-use data from a five decade study to compare activity levels of moms over 50 years.  Physical activity was cooking, cleaning, food preparation and clean up, playing with children, and exercising.  Sedentary activity was all other time outside of work and time spent in front of the screen (yes, all the various screens in our busy lives) and driving. 

Comparing time use from 2010 to 1965, mothers with children under 5 spent 14 hours LESS per week being physically active.  Mothers with children ages 5-18 spent 11 LESS hours per week being active.
Now here's an interesting tidbit:  the time spent being active decreased more for non-working mothers than for those who work full time.  And another one:  moms who don't work full time still spend more time being physically active than those who do work full time.

I would venture to say the routine forced upon working moms actually facilitates their exercise routine.  I would also speculate that the home based responsibilities of non working moms facilitates their being more active with cooking, cleaning, and playing with children.  Either way, the result is good for both groups of moms.
At the caloric level, mothers today burn between 1,238 and 5,835 calories less each week than mothers did in the 1960s.   To put that into perspective, a pound of fat is roughly 3,500 calories so if the midpoint between 1200 and 5800 is about 3500, that's a pound a week on the mid line.  Vastly simplified, but you get the picture.

Technology, as in washing machines, may have been good for mom, but modern technology, think tablets, may not. Sedentary time increased for all moms about 6 hours per week.  And yet we are so busy. 

It's not just about how we spend our time.  It's not about working versus non-working moms. The real crux of the problem is modern day kids may see busy mom living a life centered around cars and screens.  Look again at the definition of sedentary activity in the first paragraph.  What are you role modeling?

Mayo Clinic Proceedings, December 2013

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