Millennials may have harder time managing weight than their parents

Young people now may have the cards stacked against them when it comes to weight management.

Twenty-five-year-olds now may need to exercise more and eat less than they would have a generation ago in order to maintain the same weight, suggests a new study.

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the study analyzed data from nearly 36,400 American adults from 1971 to 2008 as well as the physical activity frequency data of 14,419 adults from 1988 to 2006.

"We observe that for a given amount of self-reported food intake, people will be about 10 per cent heavier in 2008 than in 1971, and about five per cent heavier for a given amount of physical activity level in 1988 than 2006," said Ruth Brown, lead researcher and a graduate student at York University in Toronto.

"This is because weight management is actually much more complex than just 'energy in' versus 'energy out,'" said Professor Jennifer Kuk in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, noting that factors such as medication use, environmental pollutants, genetics, timing of food intake, stress, gut bacteria and nighttime light exposure come together to make weight management more of a challenge.

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