Wednesday, January 31, 2007

1950s women

I am not a big fan of LDS Living, mostly because it is such a Utah-centric magazine. However, I did find this interesting tidbit as I was perusing it today.

"A 2002 BBC report showed some interesting facts when comparing modern women to their counterparts in the 1950s. They found that fifty years ago, women burned three times more calories than women today. This took into consideration that five decades ago, women did an average of three hours of physical housework and walked approximately one hour to stores and back....

Of the 2100 calories that the average woman consumes today, only one fourth of that is burned off by daily activity. Compare that to those by gone days where women consumed only 1800 calories on average and burned off 1500 calories in their daily routines!"

That is very dramatic. I tried to find more by doing a web search but couldn't turn up said BBC report. What I'm wondering is how they arrived at those statistics for 1950s women. Were they really, on average, walking "approximately one hour to stores and back?" Did they just make a guess at the calories consumed and burned by 1950s women?


Karen said...

There's the BBC report, and I think one of the key points to keep in mind is this is British women - and they do walk to get theri groceries a lot more than we ever have here in this country. I am sure, though, that even driving to the grocery store here, our grandmothers still ate fewer calories (almost no fast food and limited processed food) and burned more than we do today ... Heck, for the past many years I have only burned up a few calories every two weeks to get my house clean - and that came from writing the check to the cleaner :-)

Auntie Lee said...

Yes I agree. The Dutch walk a lot more too. I think it has to do with living in the city. Walking or using a bike is faster and easier when just going to the local shops.
The Brits however have greatly caught up to Americans when it comes to cars and car use (more to their demise). Large shops like Tescos (a Walmart type store) is creating the same problems in GB as in the U.S..
I think too that in the 1950s people expected cleaner houses. I think a lot of people are much dirtier now then they use to be.
Does this study take into consideration that women have many more pressures and are much busier now than in the 1950s?

athena said...

the french walk alot too. upstairs and downstairs (lots of old buildings don't have lifts, that sort of thing). last week i had my medical examination and had to be weighed--i was surprised to see that i had lost weight rather than gain ten pounds (i eat SO much here). but then i tend to do alot of walking. i prefer to walk around town than take the car because 1. there are no car parks, and 2. the french are the worse drivers on earth. :)

i would be interested to know how they got the figures for this study too, but i wouldn't be surprised.

athena said...

to be able to walk everywhere or take public transport is heaven sent. i think many towns in the states suffer because of how their newly gated communities are built and why many families need two or more cars. i love that i can walk to the store, to the library and most every other place and that if it's too far i can take a bus. when it snowed many couldn't get to the big store to buy groceries but it's good that there are lots of smaller stores on every corner (butcher, baker, etc). olivier was telling me how austin had an ice storm a couple weeks ago and the roads were all closed. i really like having an excuse to stay home but i hate not being able to visit the store.

Anonymous said...

Actually, in the 1950's there were probably many more "walkable communities." These communities have shown up in Discover and health magazines for about a decade now, and really make a lot of sense. A walkable community is one where it is safe enough to walk anywhere in town, and logical to do so. Stores, schools, libraries, and residential areas really aren't too far from each other, so in order to save gas money, and keep fit, people usually just walk everywhere they need to go. The kids walk to school. They also compared people who regularly worked out in walkable communities with those who regularly worked out in non-walkable ones. Again, the walks seem to really make a difference.

Auntie Lee said...

For years I did the grocery shopping for a family of 4 on a bycicle. I usually had a child on the bike as well. It is hard work. When the bike is loaded down it is heavy and hard to handle. On top of that you have to go through traffic with it all. Most of the time you can not get everything on the bike so you have to go every other day or sometimes twice a day.
I think a lot of people are lazy. It is easier to load the car once a week.
The question is: What do people who do shopping once a week do with all the extra time they have?

By the way Mal..They discussed having such a community in Bangor years ago when I lived there. It was a program subsidized by the federal government. People just didn't want it enouph.

Calandria said...

Hey Karen, Google Queen, I KNEW you would find that! Thanks for the link.

J was telling me that when he was a kid they used to walk to the store at least twice a day. They walked 5 blocks for tortillas, 2 blocks for the sodas, etc. I asked why they didn't just plan things so they could make one trip, and he said no one ever thought of doing it that way. But he said his mom did not do the walking, the kids did. :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't think that loading a car up once a week is being lazy. My mum does it about once a week, for a family for 10 - well, I guess only for 7 now - and she seems to be able to keep herself busy the rest of the time. And I know plenty of other women who are the same way, even ones with small families. I'd be careful of saying that using your resources is being lazy. I do think that some people are lazy, this just is not one of those cases. Not everything has to be done the hard way.

Auntie Lee said...

I wasn't refering to people like your mom. Having a big family is a job in itself. I happen to know this.
When I was in the States last I noticed people living on Lincoln Street taking the car to Judkins Shop n Save. Lets face it...there are a lot of Americans that take the car to go just a few blocks and many do not have 8 kids.
That is what I was refering to.

I like the idea of sending kids out a few times a day. Sounds like a very handy tip...;-)