Low levels of physical activity and inefficient sleep patterns intensify the effects of genetic risk factors for obesity, according to Medical Xpress.

Andrew Wood, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, who presented the work; Timothy Frayling, PhD, Professor; and their colleagues at the University of Exeter Medical School study the genetics of body mass index (BMI) and Type 2 Diabetes. In the past, Dr. Frayling explained, it has been difficult to measure interactions between genetic risk factors and aspects of environment and lifestyle in a systematic way.

“Until recently, physical activity and sleep patterns could not be measured with as much precision as genetic variants, and we relied on diaries or self-report, which can be very subjective,” Dr. Frayling said. In contrast, the new study made use of wrist accelerometer data, which is more objective and quantifiable, and a large genetic dataset from about 85,000 UK Biobank participants aged 40 to 70.