A study published in 2016 by the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice found that adults today have a more difficult time maintaining the same weight as adults 20 to 30 years ago. The study accounted for levels of exercise and food consumption.
The researchers looked at the dietary data of 36,400 Americans between 1971 and 2008 as well as the physical activity data of 14,419 people between 1988 and 2006. They grouped the data sets together according to age, BMI, activity, and food.
The results surprised them. They found some very specific correlations. They looked at a given individual in 2006 who ate the same amount of calories, took in the same amount of macronutrients like fat and protein, and exercised the same amount as a similar individual did in 1988. They discovered that this individual would have a BMI that was 2.3 points higher.
Americans today are about 10% heavier than people in the 1980s, even following the same exact exercise plans and diets!
“Our study results suggest that if you are 25, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than those older, to prevent gaining weight,” Jennifer Kuk, a professor of kinesiology and health science at Toronto’s York University, said in a statement. “However, it also indicates there may be other specific changes contributing to the rise in obesity beyond just diet and exercise.”
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