Familial aggregation and heritability of markers of metabolic risk, physical activity, and physical fitness in nuclear families from Muzambinho (Minas Gerais, Brazil)

ABSTRACT Objective This study investigated the familial aggregation and heritability of markers of metabolic risk, physical activity, and physical fitness in nuclear families from Muzambinho (Minas Gerais, Brazil). Subjects and methods The study included members of 139 families, comprising 97 fathers (aged 40 ± 7 years), 129 mothers (35 ± 6 years), 136 sons (12 ± 4 years), and 121 daughters (12 ± 5 years). Evaluated markers included (A) body mass index, waist circumference, glycemia, and cholesterolemia, as metabolic risk markers; (B) total weekly volume of physical activity, as a physical activity marker; and (C) relative muscle strength, as a physical fitness marker. Correlations between family members and heritability (h2) were estimated using the software S.A.G.E. Results Significant familial correlations were obtained between parents-offspring for glycemia and cholesterolemia (both ρ = 0.21, p < 0.05) and relative muscle strength (ρ = 0.23, p < 0.05), and between siblings for waist circumference, glycemia, total weekly volume of physical activity, and relative muscle strength (ρ variation 0.25 to 0.36, p < 0.05). Heritability values were significant for almost all variables (h2 variations: 20% to 57% for metabolic risk markers, 22% for the total weekly volume of physical activity, and 50% for relative muscle strength), except for waist circumference (h2 = 15%, p = 0.059). Conclusion The presence of significant correlations between family members and/or significant heritability strengthens the possible genetic and/or common familial environment influence on metabolic risk markers, total weekly volume of physical activity, and relative muscle strength.