How Our Beliefs Can Shape Our Waistlines

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How Our Beliefs Can Shape Our Waistlines
For the new study, Crum and a different co-author, Octavia Zahrt, turned to two federal databases, the National Health Interview Survey
and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which contain health data about representative samples of Americans.
A recent epidemiological study suggests that our beliefs about how much we exercise may substantially influence our health and longevity, even if those beliefs are objectively inaccurate — which hints
that upending our thinking about exercise might help us whittle away pounds, whether we work out more or not.
Crum and her colleague explained to half of them that, in fact, they were meeting or exceeding national recommendations for 30 minutes of daily
exercise; a month later, when the researchers checked back, the women said they believed they were getting more exercise than before.
But a perception that other people your age out-exercise you “could have physiological costs,” Zahrt says —
by, for example, increasing levels of stress hormones, which are known to have deleterious health effects.
Crum and her co-author studied 84 female hotel-room attendants, who told the researchers
that they felt they completed little or no daily exercise, although their work consisted mostly of physical labor.


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