Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Women are fatter today because they are doing less housework than in the past!

Posted by   + Show Post

 A New York Times article about a study that links U.S. women's expanding waistlines to the fact that they do less housework has sparked a wave of outrage online, where readers decried the piece for being sexist.

"Attn ladies, maybe if you put a little more time into housework you wouldn't be so fat," tweeted Taylor Lorenz as she shared the article, entitled "What Housework Has to Do With Waistlines."

"Are you kidding? You just completely discredited yourselves as a newspaper," commented Agnes Shugardt
on the New York Times Facebook page. (Danielle Rhoads-Ha, director of communications for the New York Times, told Yahoo! Shine that since the outcry is over the study, and not the way the article was written or reported, the newspaper had no comment on it.)

"WOMEN: You're fat because you don't do housework anymore. (Nice double whammy.) #whywasthisevenastudy,"
tweeted Sarah B.

The controversial study -- funded by a grant from Coca Cola -- was published this month in PLoS One and, as Gretchen Reynolds points out in The New York Times, it's actually a follow up to a 2011 study about workplace physical activity and obesity. In the 2011 report (which was not sponsored), researchers analyzed data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that American workers have become far less active over the past 50 years. Instead of walking around a factory or lifting things on the job as was common in the 1960s, we now spend more time sitting at a desk, using the computer, and talking on the phone. That means that while our brains may be getting more exercise, our bodies aren't—the average American worker now burns 150 fewer calories at work each day than just a generation ago.

But the study was missing a key demographic: women.

"Fifty years ago, a majority of women did not work outside of the home," Edward Archer, lead author of the new study and a research fellow with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, told the New York Times. He reached out to some of the people involved in the 2011 study to look at how women worked during that same time frame, and whether their levels of physical activity had changed over the last 50 years as well.

Using data from the American Heritage Time Use Study gathered between 1965 and 2010, Archer examined the "time-use diaries" of women age 19 to 64, some of whom worked outside of the home and the rest of whom were not employed. His team tracked how much time women said they spent doing various activities, and how may calories they were probably using up doing those tasks. (Worth noting: The researchers did not track calories expended during childcare, which, as any parent knows, can be substantial. They also did not analyze eating habits or the differences in availability of highly processed foods between 1965 and 2010.)

The bottom line? Women, even ones who manage their homes instead of big businesses, are also less physically active now than they used to be. In 1965, women spent an average of 25.7 hours each week cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry. By 2010, women were spending an average of 13.3 hours each week on housework. Like their male counterparts, women who worked outside of the home are spending far more time sitting down in front a screen at the office these days, but Archer and his team were surprised to find that even women who stayed home were spending more time watching TV—16.5 hours per week in 2010, up from about eight hours a week in 1965.

All that down time adds up. Housewives and stay-at-home moms now burn about 360 fewer calories per day than they did in the 1960s. Women who commute to an office are also burning about 132 fewer calories at home than they used to.

"Those are large reductions in energy expenditure," Archer explains. "We need to start finding ways to incorporate movement back into" the time we all spend at home.

But still, readers—mostly women—seemed to react mainly to the headline on the New York Times story.

"Really, NYT? Really?,"
tweeted Christa Desir. "American are fat bc they aren't vacuuming? Fail."

Others apparently didn't read the article at all: Plenty of people on Twitter and Facebook called the article sexist and wondered why so many modern men are overweight.

Given the way technology has changed housework, it's unlikely that more housework would make much a difference for either gender, though. Old-fashioned vacuum cleaners were clunky and hard to push, requiring a lot more physical energy to use than today's lightweight models, and bending and stretching to hang laundry on a line in the 1960s burned more calories than transferring a load from the washer to the dryer.

"Pass the vacuum, please!"
tweeted Tammy Beasley. "Bottom line? Need to move more whether we work at or away from home."

So do you agree? Disagree?

by on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:26 PM
Replies (21-30):
by Emerald Member on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:44 PM

BS, no one back in the old days(my parents and grandparents time) actually watched their cholesterol, fat or calorie intake. They ate what they wanted with no concerns. My grandmother would walk all the time, but she still spent the majority of her adulthood overweight.

by Ruby Member on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM
Quoting HistoryNutty:

The first mcds was opened in Des Plaines Il. I believe it opened in late 50's early 60'sAte there a few times when dh and i were dating. Tv dinners became popular in the 50's when people buying tvs more.
by on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Oh there are so many Seriously! 

Our God is healer, awesome in power!

by Anonymous 7 on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM

I think some of that may be true.. I also think more women are sitting on the computer more making them fatter. Some of it is more convience foods and easier just to stop and drive through the fast food places.

by on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:48 PM
So truem I mop my floors by hand still. My arms ache like mad after lol

Quoting liveforever:

I read a similar article awhile ago and I think there is some truth to it. Housework burns a lot of calories...esp the way women used to clean before all the convenience cleaners came along. Think of the arm workout you'd get sending loads of laundry through a wringer.

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by Anonymous 8 on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:48 PM
1 mom liked this

Fat women don't want to see the truth that they are too busy on the computer and only doing a hurried walkthrough cleaning.  Excuses, just like everything else.  I have been in homes that if they were in the 50's or 60's they would be a neighborhood disgrace.  Women back then took pride in their homes and the way they looked.  And I am not just talking about women.  I have a friend that her husband became the stay at home dad after they had a baby and she was the one working and he slowly started gaining weight because he would take care of the kids and only clean what he had to so that it did not stink or anything, and then sit on his ass watching tv with the kids or play on the pc.  Just like a lot of stay at home moms.  And don't say SAHM do this and that and I am some working mom thinking I am better.  I am a stay at home mom.  I got in the computer trap.  I slowly got to where I would be on the computer more when the kids got in school and let the housework go a little at a time and let myself go until I was wearing pj's to get the kids and had gained 20 pounds.  I finally woke up and realized what was happening and gave myself a time limit just like I do the kids.  I get an hour a day, only after my chores are done.  What is good for the kids is good for me.  My husband definitely appreciates it.  Just like I appreciate him working so I can stay home.  All you mom's that are staying at home need to show your husband you are grateful for him working and do your housework and keep up yourself.  Kids are no excuse.  My grandmother had 7 children and was never without makeup and a nice outfit and had a spotless house.  I was ashamed when I realized what a horrible person I was becoming because of the computer.

by Ruby Member on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM
1 mom liked this
'Muricans need moar food!

Quoting SunshineBird:

This. And also portions are much, much bigger than the rest of the world. My friend from France said their dinner plate is the size of our salad plate. Makes you think. 

Quoting HistoryNutty:

I totally read that as 'homework' and not 'housework.'

I think the expanding waistlines are more due to the fact that there's so much more convenience foods available.

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM
Lazy, horrid diets, stress....thats whym no one item
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by Anonymous 8 on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

That is true as well, maybe they will do a study on that next.  

Quoting zianneaaliyah:

This is like saying, men are fatter because they don't do physical laboring jobs anymore.

by Ruby Member on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM
I was a couple decades off. I saw a documentary and it said the first McD's was in Santa Barbara, though I'm bad with numbers, so I'm sure I'm wrong about that.

Quoting Jamie1972:

Quoting HistoryNutty:

The first mcds was opened in Des Plaines Il. I believe it opened in late 50's early 60'sAte there a few times when dh and i were dating. Tv dinners became popular in the 50's when people buying tvs more.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)