Trends in Maternal Activity

December 16th, 2013 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

Researchers generally agree that something happened in the 1970’s to cause the rise in adult and childhood obesity. Just what the cause (or causes) may be are highly debated. Clearly, there were changes in American society. While a great deal of attention has focused on food marketing, rise of fast food outlets, increase television viewing, decrease in physical activity, less attention has been paid to what changes were happening to mothers. Earlier work has looked at the rise of maternal employment outside the home. Now comes Steve Blair and colleagues who have looked at changes in physical activity patterns between 1965 and 2010 among mother with older children (between 5 to 18 years) and mothers with younger children (under 5 years). They found a significant reduction in physical activity (housework, child care, laundry, food preparation, food cleanup, and exercise) and an increase in sedentary behavior (time in a vehicle and using screen-based media). They conclude, “Given the essential role of PA (physical activity) for health and the potential for the intergenerational transmission of obesity and obesogenic behaviors, these results suggest that maternal inactivity may be an important target for the primary prevention of chronic noncommunicable disease and obesity.”