The “couch potato.”
A term with universal American meaning coined in the ’70’s. The phrase was originally uttered by Tom Iacino to some close friends.
His friend Robert Armstrong, a cartoonist, drew it up and trademarked the term.
Robert Armstrong later illustrated The Couch Potato Handbook by Jack Mingo, and drove the couch potato movement.
“Couch potato” straight from the Oxford Dictionary:
A person who takes little or no exercise and watches a lot of television.
When you envision a couch potato, inevitably it’s a unkempt, beer-bellied man with potato chip crumbs on his abdomen and he's clutching a remote.
This is the quintessential sedentary man and could be the image that defines our era.
Certainly an unhealthy image . . . the abdomen in particular.
Abdominal fat or more precisely - visceral fat - is proven to be a bad actor.
The fat in your abdomen (around your organs) secretes pro-inflammatory cytokines and hormones that lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.
In fact, if I were to pick a fat it would be subcutaneous, the fat just beneath the skin, which I guess we can call “healthier.”
Yes, subcutaneous fat is a “healthy fat,” at least compared to the disease-causing belly fat.
Unfortunately, it turns out that inactivity may lead to more of the visceral fat.
A recent study from the International Journal of Obesity showed that being inactive caused a preferential increase in visceral fat.
They took 24 male subjects and put one group on bed rest for 60 days, an extreme form of inactivity, while another group performed strength training. They completed DEXA scans on the subjects before and after to compare fat distribution.
The inactive group gained 29% more abdominal fat over the 60 days, but only gained 7% fat on the arms and legs. The active group . . . lost fat in the abdomen, arms and legs.
This demonstrates that living on the couch and being sedentary contributes to abdominal fat more than any other fat. By being inactive you not only gain unsightly belly fat, but presumably you increase your risk of disease.
Time to get off the couch and ditch the chips.
Need to get off the couch?
Take a look at the benefits of high-intensity interval training.
For a fun, guilty-pleasure-kind-of-read get THE Official Couch-Potato Handbook:
Meet Tom Iacino, the Man Who Coined the Phrase 'Couch Potato’ from bon appetit