Genetic influences of sports participation in Portuguese families

André F. Seabra, Denisa M. Mendonça, Harald H.H. Göring, Martine A. Thomis, José A. Maia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


To estimate familial aggregation and quantify the genetic and environmental contribution to the phenotypic variation on sports participation (SP) among Portuguese families. The sample consisted of 2375 nuclear families (parents and two offspring each) from different regions of Portugal with a total of 9500 subjects. SP assessment was based on a psychometrically established questionnaire. Phenotypes used were based on the participation in sports (yes/no), intensity of sport, weekly amount of time in SP and the proportion of the year in which a sport was regularly played. Familial correlations were calculated using family correlations (FCOR) in the SAGE software. Heritability was estimated using variance-components methods implemented in Sequential Oligogenic Linkage Analysis Routines (SOLAR) software. Subjects of the same generation tend to be more similar in their SP habits than the subjects of different generations. In all SP phenotypes studied, adjusted for the effects of multiple covariates, the proportion of phenotypic variance due to additive genetic factors ranged between 40% and 50%. The proportion of variance attributable to environmental factors ranged from 50% for the participation in sports to 60% for intensity of sport. In this large population-based family study, there was significant familial aggregation on SP. These results highlight that the variation on SP phenotypes have a significant genetic contribution although environmental factors are also important in the familial resemblance of SP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-517
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Sports participation
  • environment
  • families
  • genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic influences of sports participation in Portuguese families'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this