Leave that clock alone!! It'll help fight the obesity crisis, a British… (Feature Photo Service )
Daylight saving time ends this weekend in the United Kingdom, where the Brits will turn back their clocks one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. But Mayer Hillman wishes they wouldn’t. Preserving that extra hour of daylight at the end of the day would make it a whole lot easier for people to go outside and engage in some physical activity – something that would improve public health, he argues in an essay published Thursday in the British Medical Journal.
Hillman, a senior fellow emeritus at the University of Westminster’s Policy Studies Institute in London, has been making this argument for quite some time. If you go to his website, you can read his 1993 publication titled “Time for Change: Setting Clocks Forward by One Hour Throughout the Year, A New Review of the Evidence.”
Hillman says that if we keep the clocks as they are in the fall and move them forward an additional hour in the spring, the result will be “an additional hour of evening daylight in every day of the year.” The cost for this extra evening daylight is extra morning darkness, but that’s only a problem during the winter, he says. But that’s only fair, according to his calculations: “On average over the year only one or two of our waking hours in the morning are spent in darkness whereas nearly half of the 10-11 waking hours after midday are in darkness,” he writes in BMJ.
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Shifting more daylight to the afternoon and evening would “enable far wider take-up of outdoor leisure and social activities,” such as walking, riding a bike, playing sports or even gardening, he writes. “It is surprising therefore that the positive effect of increasing the number of ‘accessible’ daylight hours in this way in terms of promoting physical health and well being has been consistently overlooked.”
In case you were wondering, most Americans will turn their clocks back one week from Sunday, on Nov. 7.
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