Not putting the clocks back this weekend will improve health, says expert

Oct 29, 2010

Mayer Hillman, Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute, argues that the effect of doing so would be to increase the number of 'accessible' daylight hours and thus encourage more outdoor activity throughout the year.

A major public health problem contributing to the incidence of in the UK is caused by lack of exercise, writes Hillman. Adults are recommended to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate or daily and children at least one hour. However, surveys have revealed a trend towards declining fitness and it has been predicted that over half the population will be clinically obese by 2050.

Although most people are aware of the benefits of taking up more - a lowered risk of coronary , obesity, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers - this routine features in few people's everyday lives, and the school curriculum allocates insufficient time for this, he adds.

Research shows that people feel happier, more energetic and have lower sickness rates in the longer and brighter days of summer, whereas their mood tends to decline during the shorter and duller days of winter. Two studies published by the Policy Studies Institute also point to a wide range of advantages of the clock change proposal.

It is surprising therefore that there has been a consistent oversight of the role that increasing the number of 'accessible' daylight hours in this way could play in the promotion of and well-being, he says. Taking account of the typical daily patterns of adults and children, the clock change "would considerably increase opportunities for outdoor leisure activities - about 300 additional hours of daylight for adults each year and 200 more for children."

According to Hillman, there is strong public support for the clock change – "about 4 to 1 in England and Wales and fairly evenly divided in Scotland."

Adopting the clock change proposal "is an effective, practical and remarkably easily managed way of achieving a better alignment of our waking hours with the available daylight during the year," he argues. "It must be rare to find a means of vastly improving the health and well-being of nearly everyone in the population – and at no cost. Here we have it. All it requires is a majority of MPs walking through the 'Ayes' lobby in the House of Commons," he concludes.

Explore further: The American athletics track is still a man's world

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ease into daylight savings time

Oct 01, 2010

With winter now behind us and the longer days of summer looming comes the annual switch to daylight saving time.

Recommended for you

New survey of employers about the health insurance market

3 minutes ago

A new nationally representative survey of employers—the largest purchasers of health care in the country— shows that most are unfamiliar with objective metrics of health plan quality information. The survey, conducted ...

Running really can keep you young, study says

3 hours ago

If you are an active senior who wants to stay younger, keep on running. A new study involving the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University shows that senior citizens who run several times ...

The American athletics track is still a man's world

3 hours ago

The limited coverage that American female athletes get in the media is one of many subtle forms of gender biases they have to cope with. The little exposure they do get often focuses more on their attire, or how attractive, ...

How do teenage boys perceive their weight?

6 hours ago

Almost one third of male adolescents inaccurately perceive their weight. This can influence their eating habits and, consequently, their health, according to a study led by the UAB and conducted with 600 teenage boys from ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Bob_Kob
not rated yet Oct 29, 2010
Daylight savings is the greatest thing since christmas each year. Always look forward to it.
mysticfree
5 / 5 (2) Oct 29, 2010
and yet, study after study shows how wasteful daylight-savings-times is ...
plasticpower
not rated yet Oct 29, 2010
and yet, study after study shows how wasteful daylight-savings-times is ...


Wasteful and expensive for businesses during the days of the switch when there's general confusion about the time pretty much everywhere.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.