Our perception of fat people resting almost prompts a "couch potato" comment, while it is just the opposite when we see a slim person putting his feet up!
Now, Tanya Berry, from the U of A's Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, says these stereotypes about overweight people need to be addressed.
According to Berry, just because a person is overweight, it doesn't mean they don't exercise, and just because a person is thin, it doesn't mean they are fit and healthy.
In the University of Alberta research, Berry had a group of study participants look at a number of pictures that would flash on a computer screen.
After each photo a sedentary word such as "lazy" would appear.
After the participants looked at each picture they were asked to say the colour of each word. Berry says when a picture of a thin "couch potato" came up, the participants were quick to say the colour of the word that appeared. But when a photo of an overweight person lying down appeared, the study participants paused.
Berry concluded that the slow reaction resulted as the stereotyped thoughts automatically set in, with the participant thinking about the person being lazy rather than thinking about the colour of the word.