Genetic and environmental influences on body-fat measures among African-American twins.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the genetic and environmental influences on body-fat measures including waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and body mass index (BMI) among African-American men and women. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Measurements were taken as part of the Carolina African American Twin Study of Aging. This sample currently comprises 146 same-sex African-American twins with an average age of 50 years (range, 22 to 88 years). This analysis included 26 monozygotic and 29 dizygotic men and 45 monozygotic and 46 dizygotic women. Maximum likelihood quantitative genetic analysis was used. RESULTS: In men, additive genetic effects accounted for 77% of the variance in WC, 59% in WHR, and 89% in BMI. In women, additive genetic effects accounted for 76% of the variance in WC, 56% in WHR, and 73% in BMI. The remaining variance in both men and women was attributed to unique environmental effects (WC, 21%; WHR, 36%; BMI, 11% in men and WC, 22%; WHR, 38%; BMI, 27% in women) and age (WC, 2%; WHR, 5% in men and WC, 2%; WHR, 6% in women). When BMI was controlled in the analysis of WC and WHR, it accounted for a portion of the genetic and environmental variance in WHR and over one-half of the genetic and environmental variance in WC. DISCUSSION: There are both genetic and environmental influences on WC, WHR, and BMI, and independent of BMI, there are genetic and environmental effects on WC and WHR among both genders. The results from this African-American twin sample are similar to findings among white twin samples.
Nelson, TL; Brandon, DT; Wiggins, SA; Whitfield, KE
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