If You’re Overweight, Can You Blame the Internet?

Some headlines are just so unbelievable, I really have to click them just to see if they are serious! However, when I think about it, this is not so far-fetched according to the leading theory. People are supposedly overweight because they are too sedentary and they eat too much. This one kind of flies in the face of the law of energy conservation. That law says that if one increases energy expenditure then they must increase energy intake. In this example, people are said to be increasing energy intake without increasing energy expenditure. After all, they are sitting at the computer reading news and staring at naked images when they should be out lifting weights, running, or baling hay.

The supposed fix would be to increase energy expenditure while at the same time somehow reducing energy intake which would violate the law. Of course, we don’t hear that side of the tale very often. The experts do acknowledge that if a person increases expenditure and does not eat enough, that their metabolism will slow and this is very easy to see. Just check the gyms in January and then go back around April. Let’s just say there is no waiting for the treadmills in April.

The researchers surveyed 2,650 Australian adults and asked them questions about their levels of physical activity, Internet and computer use during leisure time, and other sedentary activities, such as reading, talking on the phone, playing video games, or watching television. Internet use and physical activity were divided into three categories: none, low (less than three hours per week), and high (more than three hours); sedentary activities were divided into low (less than 2.5 hours), medium (2.5 to 5 hours per week), and high (more than five hours).

People with the highest levels of computer use were 1.5 times more likely to be overweight and 2.5 times more likely to be obese than people who didn’t use a computer at all. Those people were also more likely to report lower levels of physical activity, and were 2.5 times more likely to engage in more than five hours a day of other sedentary activities. But interestingly, adults who spent a lot of time at the computer and still had high levels of physical activity were 1.86 times more likely to be overweight or obese than people who spent no time in front of the computer.

That last part is pretty revealing, especially when these people seem to counteract the problem identified by the study. They exercise more, use the computer, yet are still overweight. Why don’t the study authors consider the fact that it’s very possible that computer use and exercise both are irrelevant when it comes to weight regulation? As a forum administrator and blogger, I spend a great deal of time online yet I am not overweight. Despite my racing schedule, I am quite sedentary the rest of the time. Since November 15th, the date of my last race, I have not been running at all and I have only lost weight. So in my case, increased computer usage and no exercise resulted in less weight, right? Of course not. These things had nothing to do with it.

Weight is regulated by the body, dear reader, and if you are consuming things which cause your body to store fat, then you will gain weight. If you consume that which allows your body to mobilize the calories you consume, you will lose weight. So eat properly, enjoy your Internet use and only exercise if you choose to.

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Posted on November 29, 2009 at 7:05 pm by Charles · Permalink
In: Diet, Exercise, Obesity

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