Thursday September 19, 2019

Americans Becoming More Desk-Bound, Spending Almost Third of their Waking Hours Sitting: Study

By 2016, at least half of American kids and adults spent an hour or more of leisure time daily using computers

0
//
americans, inactive
FILE - A worker sits a computer at the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in Arlington, Va., Aug. 22, 2018. VOA

Americans are becoming increasingly sedentary, spending almost a third of their waking hours sitting down, and computer use is partly to blame, a new study found.

Over almost a decade, average daily sitting time increased by roughly an hour, to about eight hours for U.S. teens and almost 6 1/2 hours for adults, according to the researchers. That includes school and work hours, but leisure-time computer use among all ages increased too.

By 2016, at least half of American kids and adults spent an hour or more of leisure time daily using computers. The biggest increase was among the oldest adults: 15 percent of retirement-aged adults reported using computers that often in 2003-04, soaring to more than half in 2015-16.

Most Americans of all ages watched TV or videos for at least two hours daily and that was mostly unchanged throughout the study, ranging from about 60 percent of kids aged 5 to 11, up to 84 percent of seniors.

americans, inactive
Over almost a decade, average daily sitting time increased by roughly an hour, to about eight hours for U.S. teens and almost 6 1/2 hours for adults, according to the researchers. Pixabay

“Everything we found is concerning,” said lead author Yin Cao, a researcher at Washington University’s medical school in St. Louis. “The overall message is prolonged sitting is highly prevalent,” despite prominent health warnings about the dangers of being too sedentary.

The researchers analyzed U.S. government health surveys from almost 52,000 Americans, starting at age 5, from 2001-2016. Total sitting time was assessed for teens and adults starting in 2007. The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Studies have shown that prolonged periods of sitting can increase risks for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. U.S. activity guidelines released last fall say adults need at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity each week, things like brisk walking, jogging, biking or tennis. Muscle strengthening two days weekly is also advised. Immediate benefits include reduced blood pressure and anxiety and better sleep. Long-term benefits include improved brain health and lower risks for falls.

Kids aged 6 through 17 need 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. Regular activity is even recommended for kids as young as 3. But only about 1 in 4 U.S. adults and 1 in 5 teens get recommended amounts. College student Daisy Lawing spends a lot of time sitting, but says she doesn’t have much choice. Classes and homework on the computer take up much of her day.

americans, inactive
Kids aged 6 through 17 need 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. Regular activity is even recommended for kids as young as 3. But only about 1 in 4 U.S. adults and 1 in 5 teens get recommended amounts. Pixabay

“I always feel bad” about being inactive, she said Tuesday at an Asheville, North Carolina, cafe, explaining that she did a school paper about the benefits of physical activity. “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,” Lawing, 21, a junior at Appalachian State University in Boone.

ALSO READ: NASA Probe ‘InSight’ Detects Likely ‘Marsquake’- Marking First Seismological Tremor Recorded on Another Planet

Peter T. Katzmarzyk of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said people who sit all day need to do more than the minimum recommended amount of physical activity to counteract the harms of being sedentary.

“We’ve just got to really work on the population to get the message out there. Physical activity is good for everyone,” he said. (VOA)

Next Story

Americans Prefer Driving By Themselves Than An Autonomous Vehicle Drive Them

Researchers, from Washington University have revealed that people in the US would rather drive themselves than have an autonomous vehicle

0
Self driving, Driving, Americans, Vehicle, Transport
Through a survey, the team found that people considered a ride-hailing service at least 13 per cent "less expensive," in terms of time, compared to driving themselves. Wikimedia Commons

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, from Washington University have revealed that people in the US would rather drive themselves than have an autonomous vehicle drive them.

Many Americans use a ride-hailing service — like Uber or Lyft — to get to and from work. It provides the privacy of riding in a personal car and the convenience of catching up on emails or social media during traffic jams.

In the future, self-driving vehicles could provide the same service, except without a human driver.

“The average person in our sample would find riding in a driverless car to be more burdensome than driving themselves. This highlights the risks of making forecasts based on how people say they would respond to driverless cars today,” said study senior author Don MacKenzie.

For the findings published in the journal Transportation, the research team studied how Americans’ perceived cost of commute time changes depending on who’s driving.

Self driving, Driving, Americans, Vehicle, Transport
Many Americans use a ride-hailing service — like Uber or Lyft — to get to and from work or. Pixabay

Through a survey, the team found that people considered a ride-hailing service at least 13 per cent “less expensive,” in terms of time, compared to driving themselves.

If the researchers told people the ride-hailing service was driverless, however, then the cost of travel time increased to 15 per cent more than driving a personal car, suggesting that at least for now, people would rather drive themselves than have an autonomous vehicle drive them.

During the survey, the research team asked people across the continental US to select between a personal car or a ride-hailing service for a 15-mile commute trip.

Half the 502 respondents were told that the ride-hailing service was driverless.

ALSO READ: Himachal Pradesh Aiming to Achieve 100% Transition to Electric Vehicles by 2030

The researchers converted the responses to a score of how much respondents deemed that trip would cost per hour.

“If someone values their trip time at $15 per hour, that means they dislike an hour spent travelling as much as they dislike giving up $15, so a lower number means that the time spent travelling for that trip is less burdensome,” said study co-author and Indian-origin researcher Andisheh Ranjbari.

According to the researchers, driverless cars aren’t commercially available yet, so people are not familiar with them or may be leery of the technology. (IANS)