Frank Booth, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, along with his post-doctoral fellow Michael Roberts, were able to selectively breed rats that exhibited traits of either extreme activity or extreme laziness.
Studies show 97 percent of American adults get less than 30 minutes of exercise a day, which is the minimum recommended amount based on federal guidelines, reports Science Daily.
They say, in a study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, these rats indicate that genetics could play a role in exercise motivation, even in humans.
"We have shown that it is possible to be genetically predisposed to being lazy," Booth said.
"This could be an important step in identifying additional causes for obesity in humans, especially considering dramatic increases in childhood obesity in the United States. It would be very useful to know if a person is genetically predisposed to having a lack of motivation to exercise, because that could potentially make them more likely to grow obese."