SILVER SPRING, MD – August 12, 2014 – If you think obesity is strictly the result of overeating, think again! The results of recent research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine indicate a major new finding on the topic of obesity in America. From 1988 to 2010, Stanford researchers discovered that there was a significant increase in obesity in America while there was a significant decrease in the amount of time that Americans spent exercising. This same study revealed no significant increase in caloric intake during this 22-year study.
The study, publicized by CBS News and in a recent edition of the Los Angeles Times, was based on data extracted from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 2010. The study will be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
"Our findings do not support the popular notion that the increase of obesity in the United States can be attributed primarily to sustained increase over time in the average daily caloric intake of Americans," stated study author Dr. Uri Ladabaum, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.
This is relevant news because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one-third of American adults is now obese. And the numbers are increasing.
“We wouldn't say that calories don't count, but the main takeaway is that we have to look very carefully at physical activity. The problem is not all in the intake of calories," said Dr. Ladabaum to the Los Angeles Times.
The most eye-opening revelation was the decline in the amount of time that Americans spent exercising. From 1988 to 2010, the percentage of adults who stated that they did not exercise or work out jumped dramatically for both genders – from 19% in 1994 to 52% in 2010 for women and from 11% in 1994 to 44% in 2010 for men.
"We suspected there was a trend in that direction, but not that magnitude," says Dr. Ladabaum.
While exercise time was dropping, obesity rates were increasing – from 25% to 35% in women and from 20% to 35% in men.
“This information certainly indicates that the mission of PHIT America is timely and targeted,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America. “With the obesity crisis, there has been so much focus on healthy eating. Too much, in my opinion. Very few have focused on how critical it is to get Americans more active, fit and healthy. Yes, we need to eat healthy. But we also need to overcome the inactivity pandemic. This will go a long way to overcoming obesity as well.”
"This study should serve as a reinforcement of the message that we need to think of a multi-component solution where diet is a big part of it, and physical activity is a big part as well," stated Ladabaum in the July 7th edition of the American Journal of Medicine.
PHIT America is encouraging all Americans to get active. “We must fight to overcome the inactivity pandemic to improve the health of America. By doing this, we can also prevent and reduce health care costs,” states Jim Baugh, Founder, PHIT America. “And, we have a way for everyone to do this. We have a special section of PHITAmerica.org, GET FIT HERE where you will find ways to get active in more than 50 sports or activities in your area.”
Ladabaum feels that any kind of national efforts to educate Americans about the power of physical activity would be a wise investment of resources.
“Even though it is very difficult to prove directly that public health interventions promoting physical activity will make a difference, I think they will,” told Ladabaum in a story in the July 7th edition of the American Journal of Medicine.