Millennials Have to Eat Less, Exercise More Than Their Parents

Adults in their mid-twenties face challenges their parents didn't have to when it comes to health: a faster-paced lifestyle, a wider availability of more processed foods and exposure to a higher percentage of pollutants and chemicals caused by modern industrialization and technology.

Because of these factors, young people will have to work harder than their parents' generation to stay fit, according to a recent study.

"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," said Professor Jennifer Kuk in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science. "However, it also indicates there may be other specific changes contributing to the rise in obesity beyond just diet and exercise."

A 'dramatic rise in obesity'

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and included data on over 36,000 American Adults.

According to Ruth Brown, lead researcher and York U graduate student, people were about 10 percent heavier in 2008 than they were in 1971, and 5 percent heavier for a specific amount of exercise in 1988 vs. 2006.

"These secular changes may in part explain why we have seen the dramatic rise in obesity," Brown said in a statement.

Eating less and exercising more, however, won't entirely solve the problem, researchers said.

"This is because weight management is actually much more complex than just 'energy in' versus 'energy out'," said Kuk. "That's similar to saying your investment account balance is simply your deposits subtracting your withdrawals and not accounting for all the other things that affect your balance like stock market fluctuations, bank fees or currency exchange rates."

Other factors like envrionmental toxins, medication use, genetics and gut bacteria can impact body weight, Kuk concluded.

The study is published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

Source: York University

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