Effect of a lifestyle intervention on telomere length: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Marjorie Buttet, Reza Bagheri, Ukadike C. Ugbolue, Catherine Laporte, Marion Trousselard, Amanda Benson, Jean Baptiste Bouillon-Minois*, Frédéric Dutheil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effects of lifestyle intervention on telomere length (TL). 

Method: Four databases were searched for studies reporting TL in leukocytes, before and after a lifestyle intervention. We computed random-effects meta-analysis on TL within intervention and control group after versus before intervention, and on changes in TL between groups. Sensitivity analyses and Meta-regression were conducted. 

Results: We included 20 studies in the systematic review (2995 participants, mean 50.3 years old, 77% women, 2045 following an intervention and 950 controls) and 19 in the meta-analysis. TL were similar at baseline between intervention and control groups. The physical activity ± diet group had an increase in TL (Effect size 0.17, 95%CI 0.03–0.31, p = 0.020) using changes within the intervention group, whereas TL shortened in the control group (−0.32, −0.61 to −0.02, p = 0.037). TL was longer in the physical activity ± diet intervention group (0.24, 0.08–0.40, p = 0.004) compared to controls after the intervention. Sensitivity analysis gave similar results. Meta-regressions demonstrated that combining strength and endurance exercise increased TL more than endurance alone or strength alone. 

Conclusion: A lifestyle intervention with physical activity ± diet can increase telomere length, independently of population characteristics or baseline TL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111694
Number of pages11
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Early online date26 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022


  • aging
  • behavior
  • biology
  • exercise
  • genetic
  • public health


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