Effect of Shared Environmental Factors on Exercise Behavior from Age 7 to 12 Years

1Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Medicine and science in sports and exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 05/2012; 44(10):2025-32. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31825d358e
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to investigate the relative influence of genetic and environmental factors on children's leisure time exercise behavior through the classic twin design.
Data were taken from The Netherlands Twin Register. The twins were 7 (n = 3966 subjects), 10 (n = 3562), and 12-yr-olds (n = 8687), with longitudinal data for 27% of the sample. Parents were asked to indicate the children's regular participation in leisure time exercise activities, including frequency and duration. Resemblance between monozygotic and dizygotic twins for weekly MET-hours spent on exercise activities was analyzed as a function of their genetic relatedness.
Average weekly MET-hours increased with age for both boys (age 7 yr: 14.0 (SD = 11.8); age 10 yr: 22.6 (SD = 18.7); age 12 yr: 28.4 (SD = 24.9)) and girls (age 7 yr: 9.7 (SD = 9.5); age 10 yr: 15.3 (SD = 15.1); age 12 yr: 19.3 (SD = 19.8)). Around 13% of boys and girls across all age groups did not participate in any regular leisure time exercise activities. Tracking of exercise behavior from age 7 to 12 yr was modest (0.168 < r < 0.534). For boys, genetic effects accounted for 24% (confidence interval, 18%-30%) of the variance at age 7 yr, 66% (53%-81%) at age 10 yr, and 38% (32%-46%) at age 12 yr. For girls, this was 22% (15%-30%), 16% (9%-24%), and 36% (30%-43%), respectively. Environmental influences shared by children from the same family explained 71%, 25%, and 50% of the variance in boys (age 7, 10, and 12 yr) and 67%, 72%, and 53% in girls. The shared environment influencing exercise behavior was partially different between boys and girls.
Our results stress the important role of shared environment for exercise behavior in young children.

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    • "Twin and family studies have primarily focused on leisure time physical activity and passive activities such as watching television. In general, the magnitude of genetic influences on individual differences ranges between zero and 85% with differences as a function of age, sex, the duration of physical activity, and means of assessment [16–23]. Shared environmental factors appear to have important influences on physical activity during childhood and early adolescence, with their effects diminishing into late adolescence and young adulthood [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is a growing recognition of the importance of the out-of-school activities in which adolescents choose to participate. Youth activities vary widely in terms of specific activities and in time devoted to them but can generally be grouped by the type and total duration spent per type. We collected leisure time information using a 17-item leisure time questionnaire in a large sample of same- and opposite-sex adolescent twin pairs (N = 2847). Using both univariate and multivariate genetic models, we sought to determine the type and magnitude of genetic and environmental influences on the allocation of time toward different leisure times. Results indicated that both genetic and shared and nonshared environmental influences were important contributors to individual differences in physical, social, intellectual, family, and passive activities such as watching television. The magnitude of these influences differed between males and females. Environmental influences were the primary factors contributing to the covariation of different leisure time activities. Our results suggest the importance of heritable influences on the allocation of leisure time activity by adolescents and highlight the importance of environmental experiences in these choices.
    BioMed Research International 05/2014; 2014(1):805476. DOI:10.1155/2014/805476 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    • "Earlier studies have also reported a shift between genetic and environmental influences in the time periods between childhood and adolescence and between adolescence and young adulthood, although at different times in different studies and in different directions. In Dutch boys, genetic influences on leisure-time exercise behavior were fluctuating from age of 7 years to age of 12 years, while in girls genetic influences were more stable [31]. In this study, shared environmental influences mainly explained the largest part of the variance in leisure-time exercise behavior between childhood and early adolescence. "
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    ABSTRACT: Different approaches are being taken to clarify the role of various factors in the development of physical activity behaviors. Genetic studies are a new area of physical activity research and also the motives for physical activity have been widely studied. The purpose of this paper is to review the findings emerging from the longitudinal genetic studies on leisure-time physical activity and to evaluate the associations between motivational factors and leisure-time physical activity. The focus is to review recent findings of longitudinal Finnish twin studies. The results of the latest longitudinal Finnish twin studies point to the existence of age-specific genetic and environmental influences on leisure-time physical activity. Variations in environmental factors seem to explain the observed deterioration in leisure-time physical activity levels. A decline in genetic influences is seen first from adolescence to young adulthood and again from the age of thirty to the mid-thirties. In the Finnish twin participants, mastery, physical fitness, and psychological state were the major motivation factors associated with consistent leisure-time physical activity behavior. The results also indicate that intrinsic motivation factors may be important for engagement in leisure-time physical activity.
    04/2014; 2014:931820. DOI:10.1155/2014/931820
    • "However, there is a lack of knowledge about the role of extra-individual factors, especially in young people (Ding, Sallis, Kerr, Lee, & Rosenberg, 2011). Among these extra-individual factors, and due to ambiguous results, some authors have emphasized the need to improve the understanding of the association between environmental factors and PA in youth (Ferreira et al., 2007; Huppertz et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The main goal of this study is to analyze the influence of several environmental factors (temperature, precipitation, mode and duration of school transport, perception of physical activity [PA] opportunities, and perceived neighborhood walkability) on adolescent’s daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels of two European mid-sized cities. Data were collected from a sample of 829 adolescents (49.7% Spanish; 55.2% females; 14.33 ± 0.73 years). Daily meteorological data were collected for the valid days for each subject and MVPA levels were assessed with Actigraph GT3X accelerometer during seven consecutive days. Data were analyzed using multilevel modeling. Warmer weather (p < .01), lower levels of precipitation (p < .05), and use of active school transport (p < .05) were significantly associated with higher MVPA levels. Environmental neighborhood perception did not show significant influence. Further efforts should be carried out to increase PA opportunities during colder periods, rainy days, and to promote the use of active transport.
    Environment and Behavior 04/2013; 47(4). DOI:10.1177/0013916513510399 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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