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'Indoor generation': Here’s how much time we spend indoors

- Herb Scribner

SALT LAKE CITY — Today’s population may be someday known as an “indoor generation.”

In fact, about 1 in 4 Americans spend almost their entire days indoors without going outside, according to a new survey from Velux, a window manufacturing company.

On average, people believe they spend 90 percent of their day indoors, according to the report.

And that’s more than we think. The survey, which interviewed 16,000 members of the public, found we believe we spend 18 percent of our time inside (so about four hours). In reality, it’s closer to 90 percent (about 21 hours).

In fact, the “Indoor Generation Report” found that 77 percent of Americans feel breathing indoor air isn’t worse than breathing outside air.

“We are increasingly turning into a generation of indoor people where the only time we get daylight and fresh air midweek is on the commute to work or school,” Peter Foldbjerg, the head of daylight energy and indoor climate at Velux, said in a statement.

The report found that 80 percent of Americans are unaware indoor air can be five times more polluted than door air.

Still, it’s unclear how damaging indoor air is to the human body, according to The Washington Times. But studies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.

Humidity, mold and inadequate temperatures can all lead to more pollution issues while indoors.

“When people are asked about air pollution they tend to think of living near big factories or busy urban areas with high levels of car emissions,” Foldbjerg said.

According to the report, children who spend more time indoors will be more susceptible to asthma, allergies and other breathing issues over time.

"With the pressures of modern life we are all now firmly a part of the Indoor Generation and we need to understand the implications on our health and well-being of life indoors, as well as outdoors, when it comes to polluted air,” Foldbjerg said in a statement. "We are a 24/7 society, and this has disconnected us from the natural rhythms of nature — our circadian rhythm, a neurophysiological term for the 24-hour body clock that anticipates and adapts our physiology to the different phases of the day, sleep and wake cycle. All of this impacts our sleep quality and general health."

The survey offered some suggestions to make your home healthier, including opening windows three to four times a day, not burning candles and cleaning your house regularly.

Herb Scribner

Herb Scribner has been involved in the journalism industry since 2009. Now he is a staff writer for DeseretNews.com. Herb previously worked at USA Today College and the Erie Times News. A 2013 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Herb has also freelanced for The Boston Globe and The Huffington Post. 
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