Familial aggregation of amount and distribution of subcutaneous fat and their responses to exercise training in the HERITAGE family study

Louis Pérusse, Treva Rice, Michael A. Province, Jacques Gagnon, Arthur S. Leon, James S. Skinner, Jack H. Wilmore, D. C. Rao, Claude Bouchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Investigate the familial aggregation of amount and distribution of subcutaneous fat and their changes in response to endurance training. Research Methods and Procedures: A total of 483 sedentary subjects from 99 nuclear families were recruited, trained for 20 weeks of exercising on cycle ergometers, and measured before and after training for the following indicators of subcutaneous fat and fat distribution: trunk fat (TRUNK = sum of abdominal, subscapular, suprailiac, and midaxillary skinfolds), extremity fat (EXTREM = sum of biceps, triceps, thigh, and calf skinfolds), subcutaneous fat (SF8 = sum of the eight skinfolds), the trunk to extremity skinfolds ratio adjusted for SF8 (TER) and waist girth adjusted for body mass index (WAIST). The familial aggregation of the age- and sex-adjusted baseline phenotypes and their responses to training (Δ) after adjustment for the baseline values was investigated using a familial correlation model. Results: Significant familial aggregation was observed for all the phenotypes measured at baseline and for ΔTRUNK and ΔWAIST. Transmissibility estimates reached about 30% to 35% for TRUNK, EXTREM, and SF8 and 50% for TER and WAIST. The transmissibilities of the response phenotypes were lower, ranging from 0% for ΔWAIST to 21 % for ΔTRUNK and the pattern of familial correlations suggested a greater within- than between-generation resemblance in the response. Discussion: This study suggests that the amount and distribution of subcutaneous fat strongly aggregates in families, whereas the response to exercise training is characterized by a moderate and more complex pattern of familial resemblance. We conclude that familial/genetic factors are more important in determining the amount and distribution of subcutaneous fat than their responses to exercise training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-150
Number of pages11
JournalObesity research
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2000

Keywords

  • Exercise training
  • Familial resemblance
  • Fat distribution
  • Heritability

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