Lifestyle and blood pressure levels in male twins in Utah

Martha L. Slattery, D. Timothy Bishop, Thomas K. French, Steven C. Hunt, A. Wayne Meikle, Roger R. Williams

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Healthy male monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs (MZ pairs = 77; DZ pairs = 88) were studied to assess the effect of dietary intake, physical activity, physical fitness, body mass index (BMI), sum of the triceps and subscapular skinfold measurements, alcohol and caffeine consumption, and smoking patterns on blood pressure. Data on physical activity, detailed dietary intake, medical history, and demographics were obtained from a questionnaire. A bicycle ergometer was used to estimate level of fitness; other medical information was ascertained from physical examination. After normalizing the study variables, intraclass correlations for BMI and the sum of the triceps and subscapular skinfold measurements were higher in MZ than in DZ twin pairs (BMI: MZ r = 0.76, DZ r = 0.48; skinfolds: MZ r = 0.73, DZ r = 0.28), as were VO2max(MZ r = 0.63, DZ r = 0.25) and post-bike heart rate (MZ r = 0.69, DZ r = 0.19). Both systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) had high heritability estimates (SBP = 0.60, and DBP = 0.66). Using factor analysis, four major lifestyle factors were identified and categorized as: 1) dietary intake; 2) a factor heavily weighted by cigarette smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption; 3) fatness; 4) physical activity and physical fitness. Adjustment for these factors did not alter heritability estimates for either SBP or DBP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-287
Number of pages11
JournalGenetic epidemiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988



  • anthropometry
  • diet
  • physical activity
  • physical fitness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this

Slattery, M. L., Bishop, D. T., French, T. K., Hunt, S. C., Meikle, A. W., & Williams, R. R. (1988). Lifestyle and blood pressure levels in male twins in Utah. Genetic epidemiology, 5(4), 277-287.