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A recent study out of Germany suggests that older men should do more housework for their health. The authors of the study wanted to better understand how older adults spend their time and the effects of their activities on their health. More specifically, they questioned 41 different activities and attempted to determine how they affected overall health, as well as the amount of sleep participants were getting.
Data evaluated in the study came from seven countries (including the United States) and involved 15,333 men and 20,907 women aged 65 and older. All of the information was self-reported, and an analysis of the provided information included the following:
- Men tended to participate in 3.1 hours of household activities daily
- Women spent nearly 4.7 hours daily doing housework
- Men were mostly involved with gardening and maintaining the house
- Women spent most of their time cooking, shopping, and cleaning
- Men and women who spent 3 to 6 hours daily doing housework were 25 percent more likely to say they were in good health compared with those who did 1 to 2 hours of housework daily
- Sleep duration did not seem to have an impact on the health of men who did at least 3 hours of housework daily
- Women who got less than 7 hours of sleep per night or more than 8 hours had their health benefits of housework negated. This may be related to additional stress experienced by women
According to one of the study’s authors, Tilman Brand of the University of Bremen in Germany, the unequal distribution of housework among older men and women “may explain why women have poorer health beyond the threshold of 3 hours per day.” If equality in health is the goal, then “there should be a balance in the distribution of household task(s) among older men and women.”
For some men, the results of this study suggest they may need to do more laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping, and cooking.
Adjei NK, Brand T. Investigating the associations between productive housework activities, sleep hours and self-reported health among elderly men and women in western industrialised countries. BMC Public Health 2018 Jan 11