US research: Doing housework good for health
Cleaning for Passover, washing dishes, doing laundry, chores helps reduce obesity, says Dr. Michael Yonash.
A woman cleans. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Although your back hurts and your skin is rough from water and cleaning
materials less than a week before Passover, cheer up! Intensive housework like
that being carried out around the country before the festival is good for your
health and reduces obesity.
But heart-pumping housework must take place
year round and not only a few weeks before the holiday.
The US study,
which covered 45 years, was published in the journal Public Library of Science
(PLoS) and conducted at the University of South Carolina and titled the American
Heritage Time Use Study (AHTUS). The researchers found that today, families
(mostly women) do much less housework than they used to, either due to
labor-saving devices or using paid help.
In 1965, they burned an average
of 6,000 calories from doing 26 hours a week of housework.
In 2010, they
did only half as many hours and burned just 3,480 calories doing it.
Michael Yonash, a senior interventional cardiologist at Kaplan Medical Center in
Rehovot, said that cleaning for Passover, washing dishes and windows, doing
laundry, ironing, cleaning the floor, cooking and other chores is “good for
In 1950, only 34 percent of US women worked outside the home,
compared to 60% today.
The research was based on diaries written by
50,000 women between 1965 and 2010. Only a small minority of US households had
microwaves or dishwashers in 1970, compared to 90% and 60% today,
Yonash noted that many more women exercise today compared
to decades ago, but this does not compensate for the number of calories that
used to be expended on housework.
Today, he added, time is spent instead
working on the computer or watching TV.