How getting off the couch helps you eat less junk food and lose weight 'without even trying'
23:33 GMT, 29 May 2012
Simply removing yourself from the couch will make you eat less junk food, a new study has showed.
Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School Of Medicine found that focusing on avoiding the couch rather than on losing weight will help reduce a person's 'saturated fat intake without even trying'.
Bonnie Spring, the lead author of the study, told ABCNews.com: 'People can change their unhealthy eating… by focusing on two targets: increasing fruits and vegetables and cutting down leisure screen time.'
Unhealthy: A new U.S. study has found that simply removing yourself off the couch will encourage you to eat less junk food and develop healthy behaviour
The study, which was published in the Archives Of Internal Medicine, looked at 204 adults who were each assigned a lifestyle 'treatment' for three weeks.
The participants, of whom 40per cent were not considered overweight, were each paid $175 to stick to one of four treatments.
They included increasing fruit and vegetable intake and exercise, decreasing fat and sedentary leisure, decreasing fat and increasing exercise and increasing fat and sedentary behaviour.
They were asked to report their progress and thoughts.
When the three weeks were over, researchers found that 86per cent of the participants reported trying to stick to their newly adopted behavioural changes.
Each of the participants had previously lived by all four of the unhealthy diet and activity behaviours that many Americans live by.
They include not eating enough fruit and vegetables, eating too much saturated fat, not getting enough moderate physical activity and watching too much TV.
Dr David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Center, said that sitting on the couch for long periods of time creates 'the perfect storm' of unhealthy behaviour.
'Limit your screen time at home. Walk… or take an exercise class. The nice weather makes it even more enjoyable'
He said that while sitting on the couch, people are not getting enough exercise and seeing advertisements on TV for foods they really shouldn't be eating.
He added that they are more inclined to eat while watching TV and able to eat mindlessly because they are distracted from their food by what they're watching on TV.
'Disaster in the making,' he said. 'Certainly stands to reason that much is to be gained by reverse engineering this.'
Dr Jana Klauer, a New York weight loss and nutritionist specialist, agreed that it is not healthy for people to spend too much time on the couch.
'Limit your screen time at home,' she recommended. 'Walk… or take an exercise class. The nice weather makes it even more enjoyable.'