Epigenetics and lifestyle

Epigenomics. 2011 Jun;3(3):267-77. doi: 10.2217/epi.11.22.


The concept of 'lifestyle' includes different factors such as nutrition, behavior, stress, physical activity, working habits, smoking and alcohol consumption. Increasing evidence shows that environmental and lifestyle factors may influence epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, histone acetylation and miRNA expression. It has been identified that several lifestyle factors such as diet, obesity, physical activity, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, environmental pollutants, psychological stress and working on night shifts might modify epigenetic patterns. Most of the studies conducted so far have been centered on DNA methylation, whereas only a few investigations have studied lifestyle factors in relation to histone modifications and miRNAs. This article reviews current evidence indicating that lifestyle factors might affect human health via epigenetic mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Nutritional Status / physiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology


  • Environmental Pollutants