Harvard Women's Health Watch

Research We're Watching: Could less housework equal weight gain?

Research We're Watching

Could less housework equal weight gain?

A recent study in the journal PLoSOne compared the time that more than 55,000 women, ages 19 to 64, spent doing the laundry, washing the dishes, and doing other household chores in 1965 and in 2010. They found that women do about 12 fewer hours of housework per week today than they did in the 1960s. As a result, women who spend their days at home have gone from burning 4,663 calories a week doing chores in 1965, to burning just 2,806 per week in 2010. While modern conveniences such as dishwashers and vacuum cleaners have freed up our time, they also may be increasing our propensity to gain weight. This study has come under fire because of its sponsor, Coca-Cola, which some critics say is trying to deflect the blame for obesity away from sugary sodas and other unhealthy foods. Because housework is easier these days, it's more important to introduce other kinds of exercise into your routine.

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