The Life-Course Association of Birth-Weight Genes with Self-rated Health

TitleThe Life-Course Association of Birth-Weight Genes with Self-rated Health
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsTong, G, Guo, G
InstitutionDuke University
KeywordsBirth Weight, Birth-weight Genes; Life Course, Gene Cohort Interaction, Gene-Age Interaction, Generalized Estimating Equations, Self-rated health

This study examines the impact of genes associated with normal-range birth weight (2500 – 4500
grams) on self-rated health in mid-to-late life course. Fifty-eight previously identified genetic
variants that explain the variation in the normal-range birth weight were used to construct a genetic
measure of birth weight for the non-Hispanic white sample from the Health and Retirement Study.
Our results show that the genetic tendency towards higher birth weight predicts better self-rated
health in mid-to-late life course net of various demographic, socioeconomic, and health behavioral
factors. When predicting health, birth-weight genes also exert heterogeneous effects across birth
cohorts and age groups. Moreover, to clarify the paradox that higher birth weight can predict both
better self-rated health and higher BMI, we show the positive association between birth weight
genes and BMI can only hold within the normal-range BMI (18 ≤BMI <30). Overall, these findings
suggest the genetic factors underlying the normal-range birth weight can have life-course impacts
on health.

Citation Key10749