Gene–obesogenic environment interactions on body mass indices for older black and white men and women from the Health and Retirement Study

TitleGene–obesogenic environment interactions on body mass indices for older black and white men and women from the Health and Retirement Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsThompson, MD, Pirkle, CM, Youkhana, F, Wu, YYan
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
ISBN Number1476-5497
KeywordsGenetics, Obesity, Risk Factors

Gene–obesogenic environment interactions influence body mass index (BMI) across the life course; however, limited research examines how these interactions may differ by race and sex.

Utilizing mixed-effects models, we examined the interaction effects of a polygenic risk score (PGS) generated from BMI-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and environmental factors, including age, physical activity, alcohol intake, and childhood socioeconomic status on measured longitudinal BMI from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). HRS is a population representative survey of older adults in the United States. This study used a subsample of genotyped Black (N = 1796) and White (N = 4925) men and women (50–70 years) with measured BMI.

Higher PGS was associated with higher BMI. The association between PGS and BMI weakened as individuals aged among White men (Pinteraction = 0.0383) and White women (Pinteraction = 0.0514). The mean BMI difference between the 90th and 10th PGS percentile was 4.25 kg/m2 among 50-year-old White men, and 3.11 kg/m2 among the 70 years old’s, i.e., a 1.14 kg/m2 (95% CI: −0.27, 2.82) difference. The difference among 50- and 70-year-old White women was 1.34 kg/m2 (95% CI: 0.09, 2.60). In addition, the protection effect of physical activity was stronger among White women with higher PGS (Pinteraction = 0.0546). Vigorous physical activity (compared with never) was associated with 1.66 kg/m2 (95% CI: 1.06, 2.29) lower mean BMI among those in the 90th PGS percentile, compared with 0.83 kg/m2 (95% CI: 0.37, 1.29) lower among those in the 10th PGS percentile. Interactions were also observed between both PGS and alcohol intake among White men (Pinteraction = 0.0034) and women (Pinteraction = 0.0664) and Black women (Pinteraction = 0.0108), and PGS and childhood socioeconomic status among White women (Pinteraction = 0.0007).

Our findings reinforce the importance of physical activity among those with an elevated genetic risk; additionally, other detected interactions may underscore the influence of broader social environments on obesity-promoting genes.

Short TitleInternational Journal of Obesity
Citation Key10763