Moms, You’re Doing Less Housework And It’s Making You Fat And Destroying America, Says Mayo Clinic

117148533The Mayo Clinic released a study this month that was 45 years in the making. It basically blames intergenerational obesity on a mother’s time use and physical activity expenditure, by examining the important activities that clearly only mothers can do, like housework, child care, laundry, food preparation and postmeal cleanup. Did Rip Van Winkle examine these results? This study should have stayed in the decade from whence it came.


To examine 45-year trends in time use and physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) in a nationally representative sample of US mothers.

The clinic examined 45-year trends in time use and physical activity, to conclude that the less time that women spend on household chores, the more obese America is. “Physical activity was the sum of time allocated to housework, child care, laundry, food preparation, postmeal cleanup, and exercise. Sedentary behavior was the sum of time spent in a vehicle and using screen-based media.”


There was a significant reallocation of time by mothers from PA (eg, housework) to SED (eg, watching television) between 1965 and 2010. Given the essential role of PA for health and the potential for the intergenerational transmission of obesity and obesogenic behaviors, these results suggest that maternal inactivity may be an important target for the primary prevention of chronic noncommunicable diseases and obesity.

I’m assuming this conclusion was written this year, right? 2013? And we’re concluding that the less housework a woman does (their example) the more “potential for the intergenerational transmission of obesity and obesegenic behaviors” there is? The study should have just been called, Mothers, Everything Really Is Your Fault – Our 45-Year Study Proves It.

This is annoyingly reminiscent of Michael Pollan blaming our fast-food culture on moms not cooking enough. Seriously? Maybe dad can also pick up a pan, no? As for this study, I’m sure an entire culture moving toward more screen time and less activity has nothing to do with the prevalence of obesity in America. Or our government allowing companies like Monsanto to poison all the foods we eat with GMO’s and calorie-dense high fructose corn syrup. Or the fact that healthy, affordable food is almost impossible to find in certain neighborhoods. It’s mostly because mom spends less time cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.

I’d like to drop-kick this study back to 1968.

(photo: Getty Images)

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