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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Apr;23 Suppl 3:S55-63.

Genetic determinants of sports participation and daily physical activity.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, K.U. Leuven, Belgium.



The purpose is to review the existing literature on genetic determinants of sports participation, daily physical activity (PA) resting metabolic rate (RMR) and activity as a temperamental trait.


A synthesis will be given of the published material on this topic with special focus on twin and family data, and association and linkage studies.


Self reported sports participation, daily PA, RMR and activity as a temperamental trait.


Transmission and heritability coefficients calculated from twin and family data will be reported.


The reported heritability coefficients for sports participation vary between 0.35-0.83, and those for daily PA between 0.29-0.62. If one of the parents or co-twins is active in sports, it is more likely that the child or co-twin is also active in sports (odds ratios (ORs) vary from 1.2-5.8). Twin and parent-child correlations for RMR also indicate a moderate genetic effect. At present, only a linkage between RMR and uncoupling protein 2 markers has been demonstrated.


The genetic determination of sports participation, daily PA and RMR, varies from low to moderately high, and only between the uncoupling protein 2 genetic marker and RMR has a linkage has been demonstrated.

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