Wellness Wednesday: There is a Couch Potato in Us All

Amidst the recent hubbub surrounding the perhaps negligible link between type-2 Diabetes and Obesity remains the question of the precise cause of this obesity. How did America get to the point where 36 percent of its citizens are obese? Why didn’t we do something to stop it?

Recently researchers found an even closer connection between owning modern technology—specifically televisions, computers, and cars—and the growing epidemic in the developing world. Having these high-priced consumer goods results in more sitting, watching, and less physical activity. Biologically, such lack of movement actually reduces the body’s ability to break down fats and use sugar in the blood for energy. A recent study showed that owning all three of these devices resulted in a 31 percent decrease in physical activity and a 21 percent increase in sitting, compared with those populations of people who owned no devices.

Accompanied by the intake of increased consumption of calories, a lifestyle of couch-potato-ing can having some serious side effects.

On the other hand fitness companies like Nike, Wii, and Apple, have been producing similar devices, which are designed to do just the opposite: to promote fitness. Smart-phone apps can count calories and miles, teach correct lifting form, and can auto-alert its user about their upcoming workouts, while video games like the Wii Fit allow players to dance, box, do yoga, and tennis. MapmyRun.com allows users to create running routes and find ones other runners have posted, while Nike+ Running app counts mileage while on the go with a chip you can slip into your shoes.

Whether you’re getting lazier, or gearing up with your fitness apps, it’s alarming how much direct influence technology has on our bodies, begging the question: Which trajectory will technology’s effect on obesity take in the coming years?

Only time will tell, but in light of Feel Good in February, one piece of advice will get you far: just get off the couch.