University of Oulu

Kujala, UM, Leskinen, T, Rottensteiner, M, et al. Physical activity and health: Findings from Finnish monozygotic twin pairs discordant for physical activity. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2022; 32: 1316- 1323. doi: 10.1111/sms.14205

Physical activity and health : findings from Finnish monozygotic twin pairs discordant for physical activity

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Author: Kujala, Urho M.1; Leskinen, Tuija2; Rottensteiner, Mirva1;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
2Department of Public Health, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
3Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Systems Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu & Biocenter Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6NMR Metabolomics Laboratory, School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-11-23


Genetic and early environmental differences including early health habits associate with future health. To provide insight on the causal nature of these associations, monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs discordant for health habits provide an interesting natural experiment. Twin pairs discordant for leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) in early adult life is thus a powerful study design to investigate the associations between long-term LTPA and indicators of health and wellbeing. We have identified 17 LTPA discordant twin pairs from two Finnish twin cohorts and summarize key findings of these studies in this paper. The carefully characterized rare long-term LTPA discordant MZ twin pairs have participated in multi-dimensional clinical examinations. Key findings highlight that compared with less active twins in such MZ twin pairs, the twins with higher long-term LTPA have higher physical fitness, reduced body fat, reduced visceral fat, reduced liver fat, increased lumen diameters of conduit arteries to the lower limbs, increased bone mineral density in loaded bone areas, and an increased number of large high-density lipoprotein particles. The findings increase our understanding on the possible site-specific and system-level effects of long-term LTPA.

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Series: Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports
ISSN: 0905-7188
ISSN-E: 1600-0838
ISSN-L: 0905-7188
Volume: 32
Issue: 9
Pages: 1316 - 1323
DOI: 10.1111/sms.14205
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 315 Sport and fitness sciences
Funding: Main funding of the substudies: TWINACTIVE study: The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (grant to UMK), Academy of Finland (grant to UMK), Finnish Cultural Foundation (grant to TL), Juho Vainio Foundation (grants to UMK, TL and SA) and Yrjö Jahnnsson Foundation (grant to SA). FITFATTWIN study: The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (UMK), META-PREDICT (within the European Union Seventh Framework Program, HEALTH-F2-2012-277936 to UMK), Juho Vainio Foundation (MR), and Finnish Cultural Foundation (MR). MOBILETWIN study: The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (grant OKM/56/626/2013 to UMK). The Finnish Twin Cohort Study has been supported by multiple grants over the past 45 years, including grants from the Academy of Finland (to JK) and NIH (to JK and Richard J Rose for FinnTwin16). The current grant (#336823) from the Academy of Finland supporting JK is specifically acknowledged. MAK is supported by a research grant from the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, Finland.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science In Sports published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.