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

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 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 (41-46):
by Anonymous 9 on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:56 PM


by Chemistry cat on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:56 PM

In my home, I spend 2-3 hours cleaning daily, maybe even more.  I have to vacuum twice on average, I do at least one load of laundry per day, and I have to pick up after multiple toddlers and a baby.  It takes a lot of work.  People are larger because the portion sizes are out of control. 

by on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:57 PM

I didn't say it wasn't a total fail, I just made a statement that I move more when doing housework compared to when I am sitting on my butt. Funded by coca-cola made it a fail without even having to read the rest.

Quoting Anonymous:

and that's why the single mama's are usually thin as rails, from working full time, AND having to clean house on the article

Quoting VannaMae307:

I don't see how this could be completely wrong, I move a lot when I do housework. I move a whole lot more doing housework than I do when i sit on my butt (like right now)

by Ruby Member on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:57 PM
I looked it up, the first McD's was in San Bernardino. I get all those San and Santa city names confused. Except San Diego because I actually lived in Downtown.

I've also been pretty scatter-brained lately. I lost my military ID today. -_-

Quoting Jamie1972:

Quoting HistoryNutty:

I think there was a mcds that did open in cali, but if i remember right when krocker or w/e his name was bought out his partners he started the first official franchise in il.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by Platinum Member on Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:58 PM
1 mom liked this

 I think any "study" can be skewed to fit the needs of those who need a desired result. If I listened to every study out there, I'd be in my house, lights off, wrapped in cotton, sucking my thumb, in a fetal position, rocking back and forth saying "happy thoughts" over and over again. :)

by Platinum Member on Feb. 28, 2013 at 7:17 PM

 My personal belief is that there are a multitude of things that go into the weight women have gained over the decades. We walk less and eat more. Modern conveniences have made it easier to do things like shopping and housework. To say that it is simply a lack of physical housework that has made the change is simplifying things to the extreme.

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