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Exercise or make dinner? Study finds adults trade one healthy act for another
Date:4/12/2013

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,
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Contact: Rachel Tumin
Tumin.2@osu.edu
614-366-5463
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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