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Unrelated factors to diet, exercise make fitness more difficult today

 (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

(Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

Staying fit and losing weight has become more difficult for millennials compared with previous generations.

Researchers analyzing data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey on dietary information, exercise, and body mass index found that a person in 2006 who had identical calorie consumption and exercise habits to someone in 1988 nevertheless had a BMI 2.3 points higher, according to CNN.

If millennials have a group are less fit than older Americans, it’s not necessarily from being less active or health-conscious.

Obesity rates have been climbing since the 1980s, which was attributed to bad eating and exercise habits, Jennifer L. Kuk said, the lead researcher and an associate professor of kinesiology and health science at York University.

If that explanation doesn’t hold up, shoddy sleeping habits and increased levels of stress might be the culprit.

Or it might be more obscure causes. Microorganisms, mothers bearing children until they’re older, and assertive mating, among others, are examined in one study from the National Institutes of Health. Factors intrinsic to the body or environmental factors could influence weight and fitness as well.

The study has a problem, however. The survey relies on self-reported data on calorie consumption and exercise. That leaves a lot of room for unintentional error. People might remember the salad they had for lunch, but forget the late-night burrito last weekend. Without more research, any conclusions from this study are shaky at best.

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