For all the freaking out in the media about the obesity crisis, there’s not much research on folks who are very fat. So a study on folks with an average BMI of 53 shows some promise…right?
Sorry. The headline: “Very Obese Adults Almost Completely Sedentary“. I’m not sure how many people are going to read beyond that, but if they do, here’s what they’ll find:
- Only 10 participants.
- Comparing the study’s assertion that morbidly obese people “average less than 2,500 steps per day” to the “healthy living guidelines of 10,000 steps per day” and not the actual average of, say, a control group.
- “The study used a precise body sensor to continually measure physical activity, caloric expenditure and movement minute-by-minute over a 72-hour period within their home environments.” I may be misreading this, but it seems telling that this is not “during their normal daily routine” but “within their home environment”. My job is fairly sedentary, but I still walk more at the office than at home because the office is more spread out. I also don’t go for a walk in my living room. I walk around the neighborhood, or at a park, or a mall, or I use the gym’s treadmill.
- I don’t know how accurate pedometers are for large people in general. I personally have tried two and found they weren’t accurate at all using the basic “walk down the hall wearing the pedometer and counting my steps” test. I counted 20 steps each time I walked down the hall; the first pedometer came up with 10 one time, 35 the next, 8 the time after that. The second one was similar. I didn’t exactly find this encouraging.
Now, I don’t think this research is a bad idea. I think it would be a good idea to look at this, not just with “morbidly obese” but also with “normal weight” and “overweight” too – using representative samples and trying to approximate normal routines. But from what’s been made available about this study, I don’t think it’s going to add a lot of useful information.
There’s an update on this here.