A recent study from Ohio State University showed that Americans are not likely to both make dinner and engage in daily physical exercise. According to the study’s lead author, Rachel Tumin, an OSU student, preparing food for 10 minutes daily caused a lower probability of exercising for those 10 minutes.
The study looked at both men and women, single and married, with or without children.
“As the amount of time men and women spend on food preparation increases, the likelihood that those same people will exercise more decreases. The data suggest that one behavior substitutes for the other,” Tumin said.
The 112,000 adults participating in the survey reported their activities from the previous day. Overall, the survey showed that the average individual, regardless of sex, spent less than an hour both preparing food and exercising everyday.
In the results, 12 percent of women had engaged in some form of cardiovascular activity and 16 percent of men did. Women spent about nine minutes a day doing this activity while men did so for approximately 19 minutes a day. On average, women spent 44 minutes preparing food during the day while men spent 17 minutes doing so.
By looking at statistical models, Tumin and her colleagues saw that a substitution occurred within the participants. Given only a certain amount of time say, after their work-day, Americans have to choose to spend it exercising or preparing dinner.
“If we assume, for example, that adults have 45 minutes of free time to allocate to health-promoting behaviors, maybe we need to look at that holistically and determine the optimal way to use that time,” Tumin said.
The study found that these activities are time-consuming. Therefore, instead of doing both, individuals often can only do one. In theory, exercise and food preparation could go hand-in-hand. For example, an individual might go on a run for 20 minutes and prepare a healthy dinner afterward. The survey showed that for many, there may not be enough time in the day for this.
Finding a balance
Preparing good food and having a healthy diet are important. King 5 News noted that in response to these findings, doctors might remember that a patient only has a certain amount of time every day. These medical specialists may therefore provide tips on squeezing in daily diet and exercise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 47 percent of adults met the CDC’s Physical Activity Guidelines in 2010. If people can find time to do this exercise and eat well by preparing good dinners, they may benefit health-wise.