Are the fit tidier? -

Are the fit tidier?

Many pack rats are overweight


The Kobal Collection

Anyone who’s watched Hoarders, the reality TV show about compulsive pack rats, may have noticed a pattern: many are overweight. New research reveals a link between a well-kept house and physical activity levels. The tidier a home, the fitter the homeowner.

The study, which is under review, examined the relationship between physical activity levels and the condition of participants’ homes and streets. The researchers asked 998 African-Americans aged 49 to 65 of “higher socio-economic status” living in two St. Louis neighbourhoods how often they walked or performed other activities. They examined factors such as traffic and the presence of sidewalks.

Finally, the researchers and participants each evaluated the state of the home, including neatness. “We were looking at the walls, ceilings, the furniture,” explains NiCole Keith, a professor of physical education at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. “Was there a crack in the paint? Were the carpets ripped up or pretty nice?”

The result: the dominant factor that correlated to the level of exercise was whether or not a person’s house was in good shape—not, for example, whether the area was conducive to jogging. “If somebody had a positive rating of the home,” explains Keith, “then they were more likely to be physically active.” She was “completely surprised” by the findings. Usually the emphasis is on getting people out of the house and to the gym. This data suggests that there may be plenty of exercise to be done inside—like housework. Next, researchers need to find out if it’s a personality trait that makes the same people who keep a clean house more likely to be physically active, or if there’s another explanation.

No matter, Keith applauds initiatives that turn chores into workouts, such as those featured at, including “dish lifts” (stand on your tiptoes while unloading the dishwasher) and “laundry legs” (lunge from hamper to washing machine). Says Keith: “Every step counts.”

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Are the fit tidier?

  1. Terrible article Maclean's! I have OCD, depression, and I have a tendancy to hoard as well. Oh yeah- I am overweight too. This article and the so-called study it is based on is complete rubbish and should be removed. It is offensive on so many levels…it is discriminatory and contributes to the negative views our society has against the mentally ill and people of bigger sizes. I dont know if the goal of the author was to make people who are overweight and/or untidy feel bad enough about themselves that they would jump right up and go jogging right after they cleaned their garbage strewn homes, but we all know that shaming people into doing something really works, right?
    Also, the research study- completely racist. Do you not have people read these things before you publish them? People with a brain in their head and a heart in their chest? Just wondering

    • Get on the treadmill…problem solved. For the record i can't think of one positive to being overweight so why shouldn't we look negatively on being overweight as a society? It causes a tonne of health issues which in turn eats up health care dollars. If you can think of a a reason to look at it positively please let me know

    • Get off your fat ass and go for a walk. That's been proven to be at least as effective as anti-depressants, which ultimately make a person worse anyway. As for it being racist, get real. I wonder if being overweight and mentally ill results in stupidity as well.

  2. Maclean's should be ASHAMED of printing this article…I think this needs to be removed and a PUBLIC APOLOGY written!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    People should not buy this magazine anymore

    • Fatties should be criticized. As a Guest above said, there is nothing positive about being overweight.

  3. Outstanding article, Maclean's! I do intense cross-fitness workouts five hours a week, eat a diet rich in raw vegetables and fruit, turn heads, even though I'm in my 40s, and have a great family life. We don't have cable, my kids do well in school and have many friends and extra-curricular activities, and we avoid Facebook and excessive online use.

    No one in our family is a parasite on the public trough.

    Our house could be neater, and this article affirms what I need to spend more time on. Thank you again.

    • So Glad you "TURN HEADS" Question is ……….Do you turn HEARTS????? Goodness, kindness, worthiness value has NOTHING to do with your reflection in the mirror. SO HAVE A CELERY STALK, LIFT A BARBELL, GO LOOK IN A MIRROR AND TELL YOURSELF HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE AND HOW MUCH BETTER YOU ARE THAN OTHERS. ULTIMATELY, IT IS OUR HEARTS THAT ARE JUDGED, NOT OUR GLANDS AND MUSCLE GROUPS, AND I AM PRETTY SURE I WILL PASS THE TEST JUST FINE. CAN'T SAY THE SAME FOR YOU JUDGING BY YOUR COMMENT. If you insist on classifying decent people as PARASITES, perhaps YOU are a parasite of the spirit, mind and soul. Shame on you and shame on Cathy Gulli, this discriminatory study and Maclean's Magazine for perpetuating hate.

      • Your reply shows that you are bitter, angry, and resentful. And living in a dream world. If people were judged only by the content of their character and not on anything else – including whether they were a disgusting, sweaty mass of blubber – you would definitely fail. You're a horrible, hate-filled person.

    • Who do you think you are?….you well still end up in the same as the rest of us in the end…we all make choices how we live but that is not saying that your healthier choices make you or your family any better than me or my family…do not be a idiot please….my kids do VERY well in school and I am sure many other peoples kids as well…..and as for you not having Facebook..I can see you do not need it because you think people are parasites you probably do not have any friends anyways

  4. That's pathetically irresponsible writing!! If they also watch Horders then then should notice that a lot of the people on there are also older so does that mean that everyone getting on in years is also lazy!! It's no wonder that Macleans is going down in their reader ratings!! You'd think it was a magazine from the USA with the prejudice that this article was written with!!

  5. I am so angry about this article. Stereotype "Discrimination" again. Was it an actual study performed on a countrywide cross section of all ethnic groups, all socio-economic levels, all genders? Apparently not. I have been overweight my entire life inspite of every diet and excercise program known to man. I also have been one of the hardest working and most meticulous employees in every job I have had. My home is spotless and I can not relax if there is a dish in the sink until it is washed. My children are always cared for and impeccably groomed, as am I. Granted, I do not spend hours at the gym or on a treadmill (maybe that is because I am too busy CLEANING!!!!!)

    • Says you

      • Hey Guest, take a lesson here and just read, try to understand and learn from these comments from decent people opposing this study.

  6. Discrimination towards race, religion, gender is not tolerated. But this sort of inflammatory prejudice is actually encouraged. Watch any film, TV show, commercial, listen to a joke, watch how chubby kids are tormented (parent mimic) by their peers OR READ YOUR MAGAZINE if you do not believe it. I am so SICK of being classified as lazy because I am overweight AND it is Stupid Narrow Minded, and Globally Inconclusive studies like this that perpetuate that negative AND FALSE stereotype. I would be interested to see if any overweight study co-ordinators, data collectors, managers or directors were employed in this study. I am thinking NOT! More discriminatory, inflammatory and prejudical BS!!!!!
    Who paid for this study anyway? I WANT MY TAX DOLLARS BACK!!!!!
    We are deeply offended and will NEVER spend hard earned money on your magazine again AND intend to inform our friends and collegues about your discriminatory Jounalism.

  7. Ms. Gulli, whenever you're ready to join the conservative movement, we'll be happy to have you. Look at what liberalism has wrought: you can't even write a common sense article about how the slovenly are, er, slovenly without the perpetually and professionally offended getting up on their hind legs.

    This is Canada: ALLCAPS screaming victimhood junkies!!!! Who use excessive punctuation to let you know they're angry!!!!!! Which is often!!!!! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!

    It's like the new national sport, feigning offense.

  8. Dear Maclean's,

    Elsewhere on this site, you have an article about Sun TV, in which you refer to its (physically fit) creators as "angry". No, the really destructive, spiteful anger is in the people who are filling this "Comment" section with block capitals and misspellings. You see no regret or humuliation from them that they are draining public services, which goes a long way in explaining why some of the sentiment behind Sun TV *is* anger – anger about how some are having to subsidize the irresponsibility of others.

    No, slender does not equal moral worth, as some of the worst people in history were healthy and fit (ie. Hitler was a vegetarian), but there are people with problems and then there are people with problems who have defence mechanisms.

    This is excellent journalism because you are touching a nerve, a sure sign that this is a debate our country needs to have about who uses public services and whether everyone should use them.

    • I can see that there is no point to posting any kind of protest to an article such as this. If any of us lazy fat people speak up, even just a little, we get labeled as public trough parasites and just making excuses for not working out more and eating less. Mel from Eckville, I suppose you think all mentally ill people are parasites? You mention Hitler in your comment…you know he thought there was a lot of parasites in his society too. Just saying…

      • If I believed in genocide, I would simply say, "eliminate public services and let the strong survive". But that is not what I am saying.

        The fact of mental illness, the fact of accidents, the fact of indigence, of weakness and of negligence – to say nothing of old age – means society needs public services. These services cannot be infinite. People who choose slothfulness and decadence over health and happy relationships abuse public services, and use civil rights and victimization rhetoric as defence mechanisms.

        Keep up the great work Maclean's: when research on tobacco use was proven conclusive, it was met was comparable hostility.

    • It's not necessarily the tax dollars they drain, although that is a big issue, it's just that once one goes on disability or welfare it seems it is no longer optimal game theory to be a good person, but rather to yell and scream to get what one wants. Some of the most awful people I've met have been on disability pensions because they only need to be civil to one person, their case worker, and even then they are often rude.

      They are no longer responsible to society in the way workers and businessmen are, who have to be at least somewhat civil, and it shows. And people take it; I saw a woman in a wheelchair screaming at a pharmacist the other day in a way that would get an able bodied person arrested.

      If we were to eliminate the welfare state, it's not only the strong who would survive, but the kind and respectful would too, because those people would get help.

      It is the evil and the rude and the demanding who would perish because they are such disgusting people no one would want to help them. Except for Christians, who, uniquely, practice blind charity for all, in which case their charity might actually harm society. In a better world, I think there would be no blind charity, people on disabilities would have to demonstrate they are good people to get any help, otherwise, screw em; what, are we short of evil people?

  9. Wow, can't believe the number of people who have been sucked in by the new "war on obesity". Sorry to tell all you self righteous but convincing you to discriminate against the overweight is just the first step. When they have enough of you fools sufficiently brainwashed, they will introduce "sin taxes" on food. That's right basic human right. Then they will raise all of the health insurance rates of the "overweight" and before you start celebrating you better make sure your BMI is at it's optimum!! And because of those of you who are so easily coerced into discrimination and finger pointing…next they will raise the insurance rate for those "risk" takers who are costing the health care so much…you know..all those crazy soccer players, hockey players, skiers etc. Then..the elderly…wow, they're costing us a lot. 18% of the elderly use the emergency rooms because of taking their medications wrong..side effects…shall we just put everyone down when they reach 65? Be careful not to be taken in by "estimated" statistics and inflammatory articles such as this..they are just the latest propaganda in the new "war".

    • I really dont understand why people ar so mad about this article.. i am black fat and have horder issues.. ever sincei married my black thin husband i am learning to be more organized and not a procrastinator…. living with feeling emotions and not knowing how to deal with  or knowing but procrastinating is something fat (health and beauty selfconfidence)  people need to leran to deal with .. and of coarse thin people and white people Hoarder tooo……  just feel special someone took the time to research this link… Read learn and do…………. and by being mean at thin or organized people who are really  takin a lot of new or other insights of life for granted..Instead of seeing beauty or thinnes(doesn;t always go together) as a thread   …. b inspired watch learn so you dont have to reflect your slfhate on others…THis same message is intented for the thin people who are thinking they bass fatties …  but really are looking for a way to mak them feel better by thinking they knock a fatty down…..Okay thats it ….inspired LOVE

  10. I'll be honest, unlike a lot of you. This summer I put on weight, and coincidentally my house has gotten a LOT messier.
    I'm taking steps to fix it now. Stop pointing fingers at everyone else and get off the couch and get some exercise. Stop eating so much. And start throwing away all this useless clutter. I'm speaking to myself as well as to all you chubby people who are in DENIAL.

  11. Um, what about just plain old depression? I find that especially when my SAD is bad, I gain weight and can't be bothered to do ANYTHING around the house. Also, when I am coming out of depression, my home slowly gets noticeable tidier and cleaner, as well as my level of physical activity both inside and outside the house increase. Remember, correlation does not equal cause.

  12. Articles just try to get you interested, so the business can make money. Unfortunately, this article does not apply to everyone, so they should really say that in it, in order to not lose business. Not everyone is fat because they don't do housework and that part about doing lunges as your cleaning or on your tippy toes unloading the dishwasher was hilarious. I cannot imagine anyone doing that. If you do that, that's great! Seriously though, some are disables, some have jobs, kids, family to care for and it's physically draining enough to do physical activity.

  13. apologies for all my spelling errors, I was writing in a hurry. I meant to add that sometimes what goes on in life can be mentally draining and you don't feel like cleaning.

  14. I think the issue were missing here in this article, is the word "healthy", its a life style. It doesnt happen over night, but it is an investment for your future health, I see this as a positive thing. Unfortunatley egos get bruised when discussing such a personal matter as weight. Being honest with yourself about any habit is difficult, quitting smoking, drinking etc etc etc, we all need emotional support. Chasitzing never works, debating never works, what does work is the ability to be honest with your self first, its never a quick fix. I think the article is focusing on the fact, that if u have a dirty home, u must be over weight, thats unfair, and unkind, its not about being tidy but whats going on in their lives……

  15. Perhaps this article should be looked at from a new perspective. I've read a lot of the comments where readers feel victimized and angry because they perceive the artcile discriminates against the overweight. But what lies beneath the surface of this article is the potentially descructive behaviour of the compulsively and obessively fit and tidy. People who can't stand the thought of being judged for their inability to achieve what society deems perfect. Anxiety ridden, also depressed and potentially manic – these people need help and understanding too.

  16. I am a single mom with 2 busy teenagers and am employed full time as an RN. I do crossfit 4 days a week and run on alternating days. I am very physically fit and socially aware, as are my children. My house is always clean and my yard kept up. Busy…yes, very much. But I have made the choice to live my life as I do. I could choose to be depressed, overweight, messy, and feel sorry for myself that I have so much on my plate, but what would I be teaching my children. Everyone has a choice to make and are responsible for those that they choose. Learning from people who are fit and fullfilled in thier lives…there is nothing wrong with that. People who are obese, who have given up on the important things in life are bitter.

  17. Continued…
    On the flip side…people who are overweight. Think about what you say about the fit "skinny" people. I don't know how many times I have heard comments about being slim and athletic. Overweight people assume that I don't put as much effort into my children that my priorites are for myself.
    "Have a donut", "You would not be so cold if you had some meat on you", "You go stand over there cause you are making me look fat", "I am not going to the beach with you, you will make me look bad". Discriminatory? But that is OK for the obese to show their bitterness and anger? Think about the choices that you make and the concequences that your choices have in your life.

  18. I was thin all of my life. I probably even judged obese people also. When I gave birth to my daughter I lost the pregnancy weight within 3 months.

    In my 30's I started to gain weight, feel tired and have severe bouts of insomnia… I gained well over 40 pounds before doctors figured out that my thyroid had stopped working.

    Now I'm on medication and my thyroid hormones are at NORMAL levels, but everytime I manage to loose 20 pounds, I gain 30 shortly after… So to all you jugemental thin people who have never been seriously overweight, you just don't KNOW, so keep your ignorant opinions to yourselves! With any luck, one day you'll find out for yourselves!!

    • PS: I make 70$G a year as a computer programmer, my daughter is an honor student. We're clean and our house is clean!! So NO parasites in my family either – seem to be quite a few on this message board though!