DIET&FITNESS Published September22, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Gen Y Needs to Work a Lot Harder Than Their Parents in Fighting Obesity

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Gen Ys or millennials may have to put more effort than their forebears when it comes to exercising and eating right, says a new study.

The Faculty of Health of York University in Canada has released a research that may somehow explain why obesity has dramatically increased in recent years.

For the study, they worked on the information found in a national health survey for the years 1971 and 2008, as well as physical activity frequency data from 1988 to 2006. Overall, they worked with more than 50,000 American adult men and women.

Given a particular measure of food intake or level of physical activity, those who were born way later such as the millennials (people who were born around between the 1980s and early 2000s) would be heavier than their forebears. To be more specific, based on the reported self-intake, respondents weighed at least 10% heavier than they would have been in the early 1970s. Further, they are 5% heavier in 2006 than they would have been in 1998 based on their frequency of physical activity.

The study doesn't establish the cause of such differences, but according to the university's School of Kinesiology and Health Science professor Jennifer Kuk, this only showed that weight management is "complex." It's not as simple as how many calories have been eaten or burned. Rather, other factors can have impact including lifestyle, pollutants, and stress. Sleep and genetics can also play a role. A recent separate study also suggests that the diversity of gut bacteria may determine the ease of losing weight. All these factors can evolve or change as the time goes by.

Thus, adults today have to work much harder when it comes to managing their weight to fight obesity, a medical condition that can significantly increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The study is in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

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