Genetic influences on exercise participation in 37,051 twin pairs from seven countries.
de Geus, EJC
Public Library of Science
Copyright: © 2006 Stubbe et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
BACKGROUND: A sedentary lifestyle remains a major threat to health in contemporary societies. To get more insight in the relative contribution of genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in exercise participation, twin samples from seven countries participating in the GenomEUtwin project were used. METHODOLOGY: Self-reported data on leisure time exercise behavior from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom were used to create a comparable index of exercise participation in each country (60 minutes weekly at a minimum intensity of four metabolic equivalents). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Modest geographical variation in exercise participation was revealed in 85,198 subjects, aged 19-40 years. Modeling of monozygotic and dizygotic twin resemblance showed that genetic effects play an important role in explaining individual differences in exercise participation in each country. Shared environmental effects played no role except for Norwegian males. Heritability of exercise participation in males and females was similar and ranged from 48% to 71% (excluding Norwegian males). CONCLUSIONS: Genetic variation is important in individual exercise behavior and may involve genes influencing the acute mood effects of exercise, high exercise ability, high weight loss ability, and personality. This collaborative study suggests that attempts to find genes influencing exercise participation can pool exercise data across multiple countries and different instruments.
This study was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO-MW 904-61-193) and the European Commission under ‘Quality of Life and Management of the Living Resources’ of the Fifth Framework Program (GenomEUtwin QLG2-CT-2002-01254). The Australian work was carried out in corporation with the Australian Twin Registry, and was supported in part by grants from NIAA (USA) AA07535, AA013320, AA013326, NHMRC (Australia) 941177, 951023, 950998, 981339, 241916 and 941944. The Finnish Twin Cohort has been supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (grants AA08315 & AA12502) and the Academy of Finland (grants 44069 & 100499). The British TwinsUK study is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Arthritis & Rheumatism Campaign. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health program of twin research is supported by grants from the Norwegian Research Council and the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation.
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Vol. 1, Iss. 1, pp. e22
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