Parents who chastise children for never leaving the sofa should be careful – for it may be their own fault.

Parents who chastise children for never leaving the sofa should be careful – for it may be their own fault.

Couch potatoes’ laziness could be explained by their DNA, a study has found. Researchers discovered that while willpower – and time – are the main factors behind sedentary lifestyles, genes also play a part.

A team led by experts at the University of Oxford asked more than 90,000 study participants to wear fitness trackers for a week.

The researchers found those who were most active had slightly different DNA compared with couch potatoes. Analysis identified seven new genetic differences between the two groups.

Women had a 23 per cent likelihood of inheriting these variations, compared with 20 per cent for men. The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, show one variant was linked specifically to whether subjects enjoyed walking. The results also indicated a link between intelligence and spending more time sitting down.

The authors said their findings show up to 18 per cent of activity levels could be written in our DNA. Dr Aiden Doherty, of Oxford’s Big Data Institute, stressed: ‘These genetic variations have a small effect ... so people should not think that sitting more is their destiny.’

Daily Mail