Laziness is in the genes

New research suggests humans are born with a desire to be active


Born lazy – it’s a phrase that’s been banded about for generations to describe a lazy child, but now scientists have discovered that people can indeed be ‘born lazy’.


Researchers from the University of California found with laboratory mice, that the desire to be either active or lazy seems to be passed down by selective breeding.

The study revealed that mice who had been bred to enjoy running were more likely to produce offspring that would also enjoy high activity – with the opposite traits occurring in ‘lazy’ mice.

“Our findings have implications for human health,” explained Professor Theodore Garland Jr, lead author of the study.

“In humans, activity levels vary widely from couch-potato-style inactivity to highly active athletic endeavours.

“We have a huge epidemic of obesity in Western society, and yet we have little understanding why individuals vary over how much voluntary exercise they do.”

Professor Garland, whose team began their research in 1993, also suggested that, with further research, medicines could be developed to make people less lazy.

“Down the road people could be treated medically for low activity levels through drugs that targeted specific genes that promote activity,” said Professor Garland.


“Such interventions could make it less comfortable for people to sit still for long periods of time.”


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