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Genome-wide association study of self-reported walking pace suggests beneficial effects of brisk walking on health and survival

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journal contribution
posted on 23.11.2020, 10:13 by Iain R Timmins, Francesco Zaccardi, Christopher P Nelson, Paul Franks, Thomas Yates, Frank Dudbridge
Walking is a simple form of exercise, widely promoted for its health benefits. Self-reported walking pace has been associated with a range of cardiorespiratory and cancer outcomes, and is a strong predictor of mortality. Here we perform a genome-wide association study of self-reported walking pace in 450,967 European ancestry UK Biobank participants. We identify 70 independent associated loci (P < 5 × 10−8), 11 of which are novel. We estimate the SNP-based heritability as 13.2% (s.e. = 0.21%), reducing to 8.9% (s.e. = 0.17%) with adjustment for body mass index. Significant genetic correlations are observed with cardiometabolic, respiratory and psychiatric traits, educational attainment and all-cause mortality. Mendelian randomization analyses suggest a potential causal link of increasing walking pace with a lower cardiometabolic risk profile. Given its low heritability and simple measurement, these findings suggest that self-reported walking pace is a pragmatic target for interventions aiming for general benefits on health.

Funding

This research has been conducted using the UK Biobank Resource under application number 33266. TY is supported by the Medical Research Council (MR/T031816/1) and the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre.

History

Citation

Commun Biol 3, 634 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01357-7

Author affiliation

Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Communications Biology

Volume

3

Issue

1

Pagination

634

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

eissn

2399-3642

Acceptance date

01/10/2020

Copyright date

2020

Available date

30/10/2020

Spatial coverage

England

Language

eng