A new study finds that computer usage correlates with increased inactivity in Americans. People spend close to a third of their waking hours sitting down. Researchers analyzed health surveys from 52,000 Americans. The disheartening results were published on Tuesday in the Journal of American Medical Association.
Daily sitting time has increased over the past 10 years. American teens sit for about eight hours a day. Adults sit an average of six and a half hours. Of course, this includes work and school hours. But leisure-time computer activity is increasing.
Both younger and older Americans spend an hour or more of their free-time on a computer. Retirement-aged adults report surprising statistics. Fifteen years ago, 15% of retirees used computers for at least an hour a day. Today, that number has jumped to over 50%.
“Everything we found is concerning,” says lead author Yin Cao, a researcher at Washington University’s medical school in St. Louis. Prolonged sitting is a widespread trend.
Inactivity increases risks for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Anxiety, blood pressure, and insomnia are bi-products of a sedentary lifestyle.
What’s the goal? The U.S. activity guidelines emphasize moderate-to-rigorous activity. Adults need 150 to 300 minutes weekly of activities like brisk walking, jogging, biking, or tennis. Twice-a-week muscle conditioning is also advised.
Kids ages seven through 17 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. The recommendations are clear. The benefits are substantial. But who is meeting these goals?
Less than half of adults and teens get the recommended amounts of daily activity. Only about one in four U.S. adults and one in five teens get the targeted amount of exercise. It is especially hard for college students to meet these daily recommendations. Classes and homework on computers fill hours each day.
Daisy Lawing, 21, is a junior at Appalachian State University. “I always feel bad” about being inactive. “I try to walk a lot, try to work out twice a week. But sometimes I can’t because I’m too busy with school,” says Lawing.
Peter T. Katzmarzyk of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center encourages people to move even more than the guidelines recommend.
God created our bodies to move! Our bodies make our outreach possible. So protecting them is a good thing. But there’s something else even better: Physical training is valuable, but training for godliness is vital. See 1 Timothy 4:8.
(Elementary school students work on computers. A study released on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, finds that Americans are becoming increasingly sedentary. Computer use is partly to blame. AP Photo)