Prolonged Sitting and Sedentary Lifestyle: Predictors of Weight Gain in Postmenopausal Women

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Prolonged sitting is a leading cause of weight gain in postmenopausal women. A study published by Obesity reveals that women of healthy BMIs in the 1960s are now 17 to 26 pounds heavier due to having a sedentary lifestyle. Americans have an overwhelming obesity epidemic amongst all age groups. To the middle-aged and older populations - this is a striking health issue. Extreme weight gain often starts before the middle age. In fact, according to a study published by JAMA, 7.5 percent of non-obese women become obese within a 6-year period.

Too Much Sitting – The Most Common Factor for Weight Gain:

The most common culprit for weight gain amongst middle aged women is too much sitting. TV viewing consumes as much as 4.5 hours of an average adult’s non-working waking hours; another 6 hours are spent reading newspapers and magazines, using the tablet and surfing the internet, according to the Statistics Portal.

How to measure Obesity:

Being overweight or obese means that the body’s weight is greater than the weight ideal for that height. The body mass index is an estimate of one’s total body fat using height and weight – a useful indicator of obesity.  A BMI above the ideal value leads to a greater risk for chronic health problems.

Abdominal obesity - too much fat around the waistline, is another good predictor of possible health risks. For women, the risk increases when the waistline goes over 35 inches. In men, that risk increases when the waistline goes past 40 inches.

Health Risks of Being Obese:

Being overweight and obese are not just aesthetic problems. Having obesity greatly increases the risk for high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, abnormal blood fat levels, cancer, and many other chronic health diseases, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

How to get rid of obesity:

Regular physical activity coupled with healthy dieting are effective defenses against weight gain. Lack of regular exercise and other recreational physical activity increases the odds of gaining weight and possible development of overweight BMI. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily for a healthy body weight and prevention of chronic health problems


Obesity; Sedentary Behavior, Recreational Physical Activity, and 7-Year Weight Gain among Postmenopausal U.S. Women; Blanck, H.M. et al; June 2007

JAMA; Television watching and other sedentary behaviors in relation to risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women; Hu, F.B. et al;
April 2003

Bureau of Labor Statistics: American Time Use Survey Summary

The Statistics Portal: Average daily media use in the United States from 2010 to 2014 (in minutes)

 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: What Are Overweight and Obesity?

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005



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