In a new study featured online in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, York University’s Faculty of Health researchers suggest that millennials—those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s—have to exercise more and eat less than people older than them. This could explain why the parents of millennials could avoid obesity despite exercising less and eating more.
“Our study results suggest that if you are 25, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than those older, to prevent gaining weight; however, it also indicates there may be other specific changes contributing to the rise in obesity beyond just diet and exercise,” explains study author and professor Jennifer Kuk at the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York.
For the study, researchers collected dietary data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey on 36,377 American adults between 1971 and 2008. They collected physical activity frequency data on 14,419 adults between 1988 and 2006.
The researchers found that between 1971 and 2008, the protein and fat intake of those surveyed was reduced by 5%–9% and the total caloric intake, carbohydrate intake, and BMI (body mass index) also increased by 10%–14%. Between 1988 and 2006, there was a 47%–120% increase of leisure time physical activity frequency.
The research team noted that people from 2008 were about 10% heavier than those from 1971, and around five percent heavier when it came to physical activity levels in 1988 compared to 2006.
Although many studies show that exercising more and eating less can lead to weight loss, researchers point out that the strategy is ineffective in the long term.
“This is because weight management is actually much more complex than just ‘energy in’ versus ‘energy out,’” commented Kuk. She also explained that body weight is influenced by environment and lifestyle factors, including genetics, stress, gut bacteria, medication use, environmental pollutants, and nighttime light exposure.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Brown, R.E., et al., “Secular differences in the association between caloric intake, macronutrient intake, and physical activity with obesity,” Obesity Research & Clinical Practice September 14, 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2015.08.007.
“Millennials, Gen Y need to eat less, work out more to stave off obesity, researchers say,” ScienceDaily web site, September 21, 2015; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150921133654.htm.