This study aims to investigate (i) how monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs who are discordant for body mass index (BMI) differ for objectively and subjectively measured physical activity (PA) and cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2 max) and (ii) associations of PA and VO2 max with adiposity and measures of metabolic health, in individual twins and independent of genetic and shared environmental effects within twin pairs. We examined 27 BMI-discordant and 14 BMI-concordant MZ twin pairs. Fat and fat-free mass (ffm) were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and VO2 max by spiroergometry. PA was measured objectively by accelerometers using ActiGraph GT1M for daytime activity and Actiwatch AW7 for 24 h/d. Self-reported PA was obtained through the Baecke and IPAQ long-form questionnaires. Objectively measured moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA, min/d), steps/d, and VO2 max/kg were significantly lower, by 30%, 21%, and 14%, respectively, in the heavier compared with the leaner co-twins of the BMI-discordant twin pairs. There were no significant differences in self-reported PA or VO2 max/ffm. As expected, PA and VO2 max/ffm were similar in the BMI-concordant co-twins. Furthermore, the 24-h recording of activity suggested that the heavier co-twins had more restless sleep during the night, whereas the leaner co-twins were more active during the day. Within all twin pairs, higher MVPA and steps per day were associated with lower fat percentage and improved metabolic health measures. Objectively, but not subjectively measured PA is associated with lower fat percentage and better metabolic health, independent of genetic and shared environmental factors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1048-1055
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • BMI
  • FAT
  • RISK
  • adiposity
  • exercise
  • metabolism
  • obesity
  • twin studies
  • 3121 Internal medicine

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