Resemblance in physical activity levels: The Portuguese sibling study on growth, fitness, lifestyle, and health

S. Pereira, P. T. Katzmarzyk, T. N. Gomes, M. Souza, R. N. Chaves, F. K. Santos, D. Santos, A. Bustamante, Tiago Barreira, D. Hedeker, J. A. Maia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate the relationships of biological, behavioral, familial, and environmental characteristics with siblings´ physical activity (PA) levels as well as the intrapair resemblance in PA. Methods: The sample comprises 834 (390 females) biological siblings [brother-brother (BB), sister-sister (SS), brother-sister (BS)] aged 9 to 20 years. Total PA index (TPAI) was estimated by questionnaire. Information on potential behavioral, familial, and environmental correlates was obtained by self-report; body mass index (BMI), biological maturation, and physical fitness were measured. Multilevel models were used to analyze siblings´ clustered data, and sibling resemblance was estimated with the intraclass correlation (ρ). Results: On average, younger sibs, those more physically fit, and those with more parental support had greater TPAI. Further, BB pairs had higher TPAI levels than SS or BS pairs, but also had greater within-pair variance. When adjusted for all covariates, SS pairs demonstrated greater resemblance in TPAI (ρ = 0.53, 95%CI = 0.38–0.68) than BS (ρ = 0.26, 95%CI = 0.14–0.43) or BB pairs (ρ = 0.18, 95%CI = 0.06–0.44). Conclusions: Age, physical fitness, and parental support were the best predictors of TPAI levels. A moderate level of resemblance in TPAI was observed in SS pairs, while lower resemblance was found for BS and BB pairs. These findings may be due to differences in the roles of shared genetic factors, familial, and environmental characteristics across different sibling types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23061
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics


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