Being Sedentary May Be Genetic

by Diane Lofshult on Apr 01, 2007

A study conducted by The American Physiological Society has raised interesting questions about why some people seem to be born to move while others prefer to hibernate like sleeping bears. Apparently, being a couch potato may be hard-wired into the brain, according to the researchers’ findings, which were published on the society’s website ( last summer.

The study found that the brains of rats bred to be lean are more sensitive to a chemical produced in the brain called orexin A, which stimulates appetite and spontaneous physical motion, such as fidgeting and other unconscious movements. Compared to rats bred to be obese, the lean rats had a far greater number of orexin receptors in their brains. According to the study authors, “The results point to a biological basis for being a couch potato.”

These findings suggest that minor daily movements, like fidgeting, actually help burn calories and control weight. The study’s conclusions could lead to the development of new drugs to stimulate minor activity in people trying to lose or maintain weight, the researchers went on to say.

the kids’ table

Fitness Journal, Volume 4, Issue 4

Find the Perfect Job

More jobs, more applicants and more visits than any other fitness industry job board.

© 2007 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Diane Lofshult

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach, California. Reach her at