By Emma Innes
Obese women get just one hour of vigorous exercise each year, new research has revealed.
While women are the laziest, men are not much better.
The average obese man was found to take less than four hours of vigorous exercise a year.
Dr Edward Archer, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told HealthDay: ‘They’re living their lives from one chair to another.
‘We didn’t realise we were that sedentary. There are some people who are vigorously active, but it’s offset by the huge number of individuals who are inactive.’
The researchers looked at the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 of 2,600 U.S. adults.
The data revealed the adults’ weight, diets and how much they exercised.
It showed that the average obese woman takes about one hour of exercise a year while the average obese man takes 3.6 hours of vigorous exercise a year.
This means that the average obese person takes less than one minute of vigorous exercise a day.
The researchers defined vigorous exercise as that which burns fat, such as jogging.
Dr Archer, who was at the University of South Carolina when the research was carried out, told HealthDay: ‘There is a great deal of variability – some are moving probably a fair amount. But the vast majority [of people] are not moving at all.’
He explained that most of these people probably live a ‘typical’ life in that they drive their children to school, they sit at a desk all day and then they watch TV or play computer games in the evenings.
While the findings are startling, some experts believe they are a little misleading.
John Jakicic, chair of the department of health and physical activity at the University of Pittsburgh, said the definition of vigorous used by the researchers was limited.
He explained that it was not based on their fitness level.
For example, he said that for very obese people just walking should be counted as vigorous exercise.
Despite this, Dr Archer says lessons can be learnt from the findings.
He argues that taking just 30 minutes of exercise five days a week can prevent weight gain and benefit overall health.
He said people do not need to go to the gym as just standing rather than sitting or walking rather than driving can have dramatic impacts.