- The Netherlands Twin Register
This project is funded through the ReVanche Program of the Emgo+ Institute for Health and Care Research
Changing sedentary behavior patterns in modern societies is increasingly deemed to be a public health priority and understanding the determinants of sedentary behavior is of utmost importance to this end. Much research has focused on potential environmental determinants such as socioeconomic status or the built environment. However, even under identical circumstances, some individuals are more predisposed towards a sedentary lifestyle than others. These individual differences must be due to factors that reside within the person, more specifically due to their genetic material. Twin- and family studies lend themselves to investigate the contribution of genes and the environment to a trait. In addition, they allow for a test of the association between two traits while controlling for genetic and shared environmental factors.
This project has three main objectives, namely (1) to determine the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to subjectively and objectively assessed sedentary behavior, (2) to identify genetic variants that are related to sedentary behavior, and (3) to assess the relationship between sedentary behavior and cardio-metabolic health.
The STAND UP FOR HEALTH project uses survey data, DNA data and data on biomarkers for cardio-metabolic health of the Netherlands Twin Register. In addition, accelerometer data are being collected in a large number of twins and their siblings as part of the project.
To address objective 1, genetic twin models will be fitted on survey data and accelerometer data. These models allow the decomposition of variance into variance that is (1) due to genes, (2) due to the part of the environment that two twins of a pair share, or (3) due to the part of the environment that they do not share. Objective 2 will be addressed by means of an association study between sedentary behavior and genetic DNA markers. Finally, the association between sedentary behavior and biomarkers in the blood will be examined while controlling for genetic background and shared environmental effects.