To stay at a healthy weight, calories eaten should equal calories burned. When you eat more calories than you burn, the leftover gets stored as fat. Experts know part of the problem is that our everyday lifestyle doesn’t require the number of calories we’ve actually become used to eating. The rates of obesity and physical inactivity among Americans continue to rise.
The twenty-fifth edition of America’s Health Rankings: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their Communities found that the adult obesity rate rose to 29.4 percent in 2014 from 27.6 percent in 2013, while the percentage of those reporting no physical activity in the previous 30 days increased to 23.5 percent from 22.9 percent. It’s not just that people don’t exercise enough, they also spend too many non-working hours being sedentary, like watching TV on the sofa. On top of that, some also have jobs that put them behind a desk all day. In a recent study that looked at lifestyle choices, scientists found that not getting enough physical activity coupled with leisure hours spent sitting, has a cumulative negative effect. As bad as these behaviors are separately, if you do both, the effect snowballs and the result can mean obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, if you do regular physical activity and spend little leisure time sitting, you will have the lowest odds of becoming obese. The combination of high physical activity and low leisure time sitting seems to protect against becoming obese than either behavior on its own. Though the exact mechanisms is unclear, it’s thought that lower levels of leisure time sitting may strengthen the protective effects of higher physical activity.
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