Genetic and environmental contributions to weight, height, and BMI from birth to 19 years of age: An international study of over 12,000 twin pairs

Dubois, Lise, Kyvik, Kirsten Ohm, Girard, Manon, Tatone-Tokuda, Fabiola, Perusse, Daniel, Hjelmborg, Jacob, Skytthe, Axel, Rasmussen, Finn, Wright, Margaret J., Lichtenstein, Paul and Martin, Nicholas G. (2012) Genetic and environmental contributions to weight, height, and BMI from birth to 19 years of age: An international study of over 12,000 twin pairs. PLoS ONE, 7 2: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030153


Author Dubois, Lise
Kyvik, Kirsten Ohm
Girard, Manon
Tatone-Tokuda, Fabiola
Perusse, Daniel
Hjelmborg, Jacob
Skytthe, Axel
Rasmussen, Finn
Wright, Margaret J.
Lichtenstein, Paul
Martin, Nicholas G.
Title Genetic and environmental contributions to weight, height, and BMI from birth to 19 years of age: An international study of over 12,000 twin pairs
Journal name PLoS ONE   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2012-02-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0030153
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 2
Total pages 12
Place of publication San Francisco, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To examine the genetic and environmental influences on variances in weight, height, and BMI, from birth through 19 years of age, in boys and girls from three continents.

Design and Settings: Cross-sectional twin study. Data obtained from a total of 23 twin birth-cohorts from four countries: Canada, Sweden, Denmark, and Australia. Participants were Monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) (same- and opposite-sex) twin pairs with data available for both height and weight at a given age, from birth through 19 years of age. Approximately 24,036 children were included in the analyses.

Results: Heritability for body weight, height, and BMI was low at birth (between 6.4 and 8.7% for boys, and between 4.8 and 7.9% for girls) but increased over time, accounting for close to half or more of the variance in body weight and BMI after 5 months of age in both sexes. Common environmental influences on all body measures were high at birth (between 74.1-85.9% in all measures for boys, and between 74.2 and 87.3% in all measures for girls) and markedly reduced over time. For body height, the effect of the common environment remained significant for a longer period during early childhood (up through 12 years of age). Sex-limitation of genetic and shared environmental effects was observed.

Conclusion: Genetics appear to play an increasingly important role in explaining the variation in weight, height, and BMI from early childhood to late adolescence, particularly in boys. Common environmental factors exert their strongest and most independent influence specifically in pre-adolescent years and more significantly in girls. These findings emphasize the need to target family and social environmental interventions in early childhood years, especially for females. As gene-environment correlation and interaction is likely, it is also necessary to identify the genetic variants that may predispose individuals to obesity.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
 
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