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Genes, Not Environment Determine Physical Activity Levels In Children

  July, 5 2006 7:21
your information resource in human molecular genetics
'Activity genes' that children are born with influence their physical activity levels more than environmental factors, according to research to be published in the July issue of International Journal of Obesity. This means television watching and computer games might not affect a child’s overall activity, and that some children are genetically more active than others.

Terence Wilkin and colleagues from the Peninsula Medical School studied data from three large activity studies in primary school children. Two were carried out in the south of England and one in Scotland. Using sophisticated accelerometers to measure activity, and once confounding factors had been stripped away, the researchers found that children of the same age averaged exactly the same daily activity no matter what their circumstances. There were no environmental factors that could account for the uniform activity levels across all the studies.

If the child exercised less at school, he/she would simply compensate outside of school. The findings have implications for governments planning to increase provision for physical activity in children - research investigating how to make children exercise more at school may not be as helpful as determining why some children exercise more than others.

Author contact:

Terry Wilkin (Peninsula Medical School, UK)
E-mail: terence.wilkin@phnt.swest.nhs.uk

(C) International Journal of Obesity press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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