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Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Linked to Obesity?

Recent findings reveal a significant decrease in time spent in managing the household between the period 1965 and 2010 as a result of modern technology like Roomba (robotic vacuum cleaners) as well as screen-based media time.  Researchers suggest that the decline in energy spent in managing the household may have contributed to the widespread increase of obesity in women.

The research team analyzed data of more than 55,000 women with age ranging from 19-65 years, looking into how women spent their time.  Data on the incremental increases in body weight were likewise reviewed.

The results of the analysis show the comparison on energy spent in maintenance of household between 1960 and 2010. For employed women, energy spent decreased from 17 hours per week in 1960 to about 10 hours in 2010, whereas non-employed women spent 33 hours per week in 1965 versus 16.5 hours in 2010. Unemployed women burned significantly fewer calories in 2010 (3,500 a week) compared to those in the last 5 decades (6,000 a week), in a similar manner as working women did (2,000 calories in 2010 vs 3,000 in 1960).

Other findings show the time spent by women in screen-based media, which has doubled from about 8 hours in 1965 to about 16 hours in 2010.  Leisure-time physical activity increased by about 3 hours from 1965 to 1980.  However, it dropped by about 2 hours in 2010.

The authors state that the decline in the number of hours and energy spent per week in managing the household correlates with the increase in usage of screen-based media. This therefore suggests that as the total time and energy used on physical activity decreased, the number of hours spent in sedentary behaviors increased.


Kaiser, C. Obesity: Is the Vacuum Cleaner to Blame? MedPage Today.

Posted in: News Briefs, Obesity

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