Navigation Links
Exercise or make dinner? Study finds adults trade one healthy act for another

COLUMBUS, Ohio American adults who prepare their own meals and exercise on the same day are likely spending more time on one of those activities at the expense of the other, a new study suggests.

The research showed that a 10-minute increase in food preparation time was associated with a lower probability of exercising for 10 more minutes for both men and women. The finding applied to single and married adults as well as parents and those who have no children.

Researchers analyzed nationally available data on more than 112,000 American adults who had reported their activities for the previous 24 hours. Of those, 16 percent of men and 12 percent of women reported that they had exercised on the previous day. And men spent, on average, almost 17 minutes preparing food, compared to an average of 44 minutes for women.

The average time spent exercising for the entire sample of adults, including those who did not exercise, was 19 minutes for men and nine minutes for women.

This means that the average respondent, male or female, spent less than an hour on both exercise and food preparation on the same day.

By inserting the data into statistical models, the researchers determined that there is a substitution effect for American adults who participate in these two time-consuming health behaviors on the same day.

"As the amount of time men and women spend on food preparation increases, the likelihood that those same people will exercise more decreases," said Rachel Tumin, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in epidemiology in The Ohio State University's College of Public Health. "The data suggest that one behavior substitutes for the other."

The findings suggest that public health recommendations should not be made in isolation of one another, but should take into account the time available to devote to health-promoting behaviors on a given day, Tumin said.

"If we assume, for example, that adults have 45 minutes of free time to allocate to health-promoting behaviors, maybe we need to look at that holistically and determine the optimal way to use that time," she said.

Tumin presented the research Friday (4/12) at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America in New Orleans.

Using data from the American Time Use Survey, a U.S. Census Bureau assessment of how people spend their time, Tumin and colleagues analyzed a sample of 112,037 adults who had provided responses between 2003 and 2010.

The researchers then identified leisure-time exercise and all activities related to food preparation, and divided these activities into 10-minute blocks of time for the purposes of statistical analysis.

Their main finding regarding time devoted to food preparation and exercise for adults: Rather than complementing each other, these two behaviors tend to substitute for one another in terms of time. This trend was true for single and married men and women, regardless of the presence of children.

One other finding stood out for single, childless men. In their case, 10 additional minutes of food preparation was associated with a 3 percent increase in the likelihood that these men would not exercise that day. In other words, Tumin said, more time spent preparing food led to a higher chance of not exercising on the same day.

"There's only so much time in a day. As people try to meet their health goals, there's a possibility that spending time on one healthy behavior is going to come at the expense of the other," she said. "I think this highlights the need to always consider the trade-off between ideal and feasible time use for positive health behaviors."

Tumin acknowledged that because the data in the national survey capture only one day's worth of activity, her analysis cannot determine if some people devote one day in the week to extensive meal planning as a way to free up their other days for exercise.

Even so, she said, there is plenty of evidence that time is scarce for most American adults, especially those who work full-time and have children. Previous studies have also shown that time spent preparing food and being physically active have declined in recent years. At the same time, increasingly sophisticated public health recommendations detail the many ways in which Americans can behave to improve their well-being.

Some of those behaviors take little or no time at all, including not smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, reducing fat in the diet and increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Exercise and food preparation, on the other hand, require an investment of time to be most effective.

"For time-intensive behaviors, public health officials may need to triage their recommendations by how much total time they think people have to spend on these activities each day," Tumin and her colleagues concluded. "If adults have a set time budget to devote to healthy behaviors, then recommendations should be tailored to make efficient use of that time budget."


Contact: Rachel Tumin
Ohio State University

Related biology news :

1. Study: Exercise can lead to female orgasm, sexual pleasure
2. Study: Men who do load-bearing exercise in early 20s may be shielded from osteoporosis
3. Dartmouth researchers are learning how exercise affects the brain
4. Dont feel like exercise? Scientists find compound that may help you work out harder
5. Resveratrol may be a natural exercise performance enhancer: U of A medical research
6. Exercise is key in the fight against Alzheimers disease
7. UIC study examines exercise and weight loss for older adults with osteoarthritis
8. 30 minutes of daily exercise does the trick
9. UMD study shows exercise may protect against future emotional stress
10. MARC travel awards announced for the 2012 APS Integrative Biology of Exercise meeting
11. American Physiological Societys latest conference focuses on integrative biology of exercise
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet Solutions , ... entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce ... Tech Association (MHTA) as one of only three finalists ... "Software – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor ... have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Daon, a global leader in mobile biometric ... new version of its IdentityX Platform , IdentityX ... have already installed IdentityX v4.0 and are ... FIDO UAF certified server component as an option ... features. These customers include some of the largest and ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... driving the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and ... new book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... sensors or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, ... of health care delivery, moving care from the hospital ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... VANCOUVER , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo ... ICOTF), today reported financial results for the quarter ... are expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under ... the United States ," said Andrew ... "These advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms ... there are no corporate developments that would cause the ... --> --> About Aeterna Zentaris ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, ... at competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to ... from each state are competing for votes to win the title of SAP's Teen ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 --> ... released by Transparency Market Research, the global non-invasive prenatal ... of 17.5% during the period between 2014 and 2022. ... Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast ... market to reach a valuation of US$2.38 bn by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: