Identification and validation of integrative biomarkers of physical activity level and health in children and adolescents

Physical activity (PA) provides health benefits across the lifespan and improves many established cardiovascular risk factors that have a significant impact on overall mortality. Childhood and adolescence are critical periods for life-time health; processes underlying cardiovascular diseases and obesity generally originate in early ages. However, it is not clear how PA links to different parameters of health. There is an important need to cover this critical gap and, more specifically, to have biomarkers allowing to relate the degree of PA with effects on health.

INTEGRActiv addresses this new scientific and societal challenge by focusing on the identification of integrated markers reflecting both aspects - PA level and health - in children and adolescents, which represent an important target population to address personalized interventions to improve future, life long, metabolic health. Identification of new biomarkers will be achieved by combining measures of PA and cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness with anthropometric measures, cardiovascular risk factors and endocrine markers, cytokines, circulating miRNA, and gene expression profile in blood cells and metabolomics profile in plasma and blood cells. Following identification in a core cohort and data integration analysis, candidate biomarkers will be further assessed in core cohort subjects after educational intervention and in existing samples from other independent studies.

INTEGRActiv encompasses relevant progress beyond the state-of-the-art for a) the definition of potential biomarkers for PA level in childhood and adolescence; b) the provision of relevant mechanistic information for the link between PA and metabolic health in youth subjects; c) the identification of factors such as age, gender, body weight, sleep behavior and puberal status that quantitatively affect biomarker responses; d) the use and development of new tools in biomarker research, including integrative analysis; e) further assessment and first-step validation of promising candidate biomarkers in an intervention study and other independent studies.

It is expected that new identified robust biomarkers reflecting PA level and its relation with health will guide nutritional/life-style and clinical advice and public policies related to endorse biomarker- based personalised PA, with a better adherence and response, to promote health and prevent disease risk factors since early stages of life.


Partner Organization Partner Country
Fundación Investigación Hospital General de Valencia (IPEDITEC) Spain
Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague (IPHYS) Czech Republic
University of Aix-Marseille (AMU) France
The Wageningen University (WU-HAP) The Netherlands


The INTEGRActiv study is to contribute relevant progress for the definition of potential biomarkers for physical activity level in childhood and adolescence, and relevant mechanistic information for the link between physical activity and metabolic health in youth subjects. As the project is planned, this first phase is dedicated to obtaining relevant information, extensive phenotypical characterization, and blood samples from volunteers, as well as implementing the educational intervention, so we still do not have results to be able to communicate.

Communication & Dissemination Activities


Target groupAuthorsMeans of communicationHyperlinkPdf
Scientific community and general publicOnline news: "IdISBa and UIB lead a European project to identify the optimal degree of physical activity in children and adolescents for better health throughout life", Salud Ediciones and IdISBa web page, 2022Press releaseLinkDownload
Scientific community and general publicOnline news: "UIB and IDISBA lead a European project to identify the optimal level of physical activity in children and adolescents", UIB web page, 2022Press releaseLinkDownload



Project number:
Duration: 80%
Duration: 80 %
Related funding round:
Project lead and secretary:
Catalina Pico
Responsible organisation:
Foundation Health Research Institute of the Balearic Islands (UIB-IdISBa), Spain