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2.28.2013

Is Your Job Making You Fat??

A study was all over the news today stating that the reason women weigh more now than 50 years ago is because the spend fewer hours doing housework.  You can imagine how women reacted to that.

I actually think that the result of the study is worth reflecting on (but bear with me, it's not what you think).  However, I think the motivations behind the study are pretty transparent and just a little irritating.



You see, major funding for the study came from Coca Cola, the makers of one of the sugar sodas that Americans are so hooked on (and that is likely linked to our obesity problem).  So of course it is in there best interests to prove that Americans aren't fat because they're drinking Coke, they're fat because they need to do more house work.

Personally I think there is far more to the study than meets the eye.  For one thing, it is a super simple study, tracing the progression of a woman's time use over the past fifty years based on productivity logs kept by women since 1968.  They didn't correlate work done (then or now) to the weight of the individual.  Obviously, yes, there is a correlation between the trend of hours worked in the home and weight gain between then and now, but (say it with me now....) correlation does not equal causation.  They don't take into account the increased amount of recreational exercise women do, nor do they include caring for children.

But I would argue that housework is a minute, unimportant, tiny part of the extremely long and complicated equation that is our obesity epidemic.  I'm not arguing that women need to do more housework, which is of course the reason women have been defensive in regards to this study- while the study's motivations were anything but above board, not even I think that their thought was to further oppress women.  In the age that we live in, the only real oppression that we can suffer from is of our own making.

I don't only think that the study has some validity because of the active vs. sedentary angle.  Not only do we tend to eschew housework for TV time, we tend to eschew cooking for processed convenience food.  Could this be just as big a part of the equation?  I tend to think so.

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