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Genetic variants related to physical activity or sedentary behaviour: a systematic review (2021)

Abstract

Background: Research shows that part of the variation in physical activity and sedentary behaviour may be explained by genetic factors. Identifying genetic variants associated with physical activity and sedentary behaviour can improve causal inference in physical activity research. The aim of this systematic review was to provide an updated overview of the evidence of genetic variants associated with physical activity or sedentary behaviour.

Methods: We performed systematic literature searches in PubMed and Embase for studies published from 1990 to April 2020 using keywords relating to “physical activity”, “exercise”, “sedentariness” and “genetics”. Physical activity phenotypes were either based on self-report (e.g., questionnaires, diaries) or objective measures (e.g., accelerometry, pedometer). We considered original studies aiming to i) identify new genetic variants associated with physical activity or sedentary behaviour (i.e., genome wide association studies [GWAS]), or ii) assess the association between known genetic variants and physical activity or sedentary behaviour (i.e., candidate gene studies). Study selection, data extraction, and critical appraisal were carried out by independent researchers, and risk of bias and methodological quality was assessed for all included studies.

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