Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

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

Date:
April 12, 2013
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
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.

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."

Co-authors of the study include Lindsey Asti and Sadie Palmisano, graduate students in the Division of Epidemiology in Ohio State's College of Public Health, Ananya Jena, a researcher with Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Dmitry Tumin, a doctoral student in Ohio State's Department of Sociology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Exercise or make dinner? Study finds adults trade one healthy act for another." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130412132216.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2013, April 12). Exercise or make dinner? Study finds adults trade one healthy act for another. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130412132216.htm
Ohio State University. "Exercise or make dinner? Study finds adults trade one healthy act for another." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130412132216.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins