Biological/Genetic Regulation of Physical Activity Level: Consensus from GenBioPAC

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018 Apr;50(4):863-873. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001499.


Purpose: Physical activity unquestionably maintains and improves health; however, physical activity levels globally are low and not rising despite all the resources devoted to this goal. Attention in both the research literature and the public policy domain has focused on social-behavioral factors; however, a growing body of literature suggests that biological determinants play a significant role in regulating physical activity levels. For instance, physical activity level, measured in various manners, has a genetic component in both humans and nonhuman animal models. This consensus article, developed as a result of an American College of Sports Medicine-sponsored round table, provides a brief review of the theoretical concepts and existing literature that supports a significant role of genetic and other biological factors in the regulation of physical activity.

Conclusions: Future research on physical activity regulation should incorporate genetics and other biological determinants of physical activity instead of a sole reliance on social and other environmental determinants.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biology
  • Consensus
  • Environment
  • Exercise*
  • Genetics
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Societies, Medical
  • Sports Medicine