(UPI) -- People who spend fewer hours on the sofa also spent fewer hours snacking, U.S. researchers determined.
Lead author Bonnie Spring of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said making two lifestyle changes has a big overall effect.
"Americans have all these unhealthy behaviors that put them at high risk for heart disease and cancer, but it is hard for them and their doctors to know where to begin to change those unhealthy habits," Spring said.
Spring and colleagues randomly assigned 204 adult patients ages 21-60 into one of four treatments -- increased fruit/vegetable intake and physical activity; decreased fat and sedentary leisure; decreased fat and increased physical activity; and increased fruit/vegetable intake and decreased sedentary leisure.
During the three weeks of treatment, patients entered their daily data into a personal digital assistant and uploaded it to a coach who communicated as needed by telephone or e-mail.
Participants could earn $175 for meeting goals during the three-week treatment phase.
The average servings of fruit/vegetables changed from 1.2 at the beginning of the study to 5.5 at the end of three weeks to 2.9 six months later.
The average minutes per day of sedentary leisure went from 219.2 to 89.3 to 125.7, while daily calories went from saturated fat from 12 percent to 9.4 percent to 9.9 percent.
The findings were published in Archives of Internal Medicine.
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