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The Role of the Environment in Overweight and Eating Behavior Variability: Insights from a Multivariate Twin Study

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Moritz Herle, Juan J Madrid-Valero, José J Morosoli, Lucía Colodro-Conde, Juan Ordoñana

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-344
Number of pages7
JournalTWIN RESEARCH AND HUMAN GENETICS
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
E-pub ahead of print22 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The Murcia Twin Registry is being funded by Seneca Foundation — Regional Agency for Science and Technology, Murcia, Spain (grants 03082/PHCS/05, 08633/PHCS/08, 15302/PHCS/10 and 19479/PI/14) and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (PSI2009–11560 and PSI2014-56680-R). Dr Herle is funded by fellowship from the Medical Research Council UK (MR/T027843/1). A/Prof Colodro-Conde is supported by a QIMR Berghofer fellowship. Funding Information: The Murcia Twin Registry is being funded by Seneca Foundation - Regional Agency for Science and Technology, Murcia, Spain (grants 03082/PHCS/05, 08633/PHCS/08, 15302/PHCS/10 and 19479/PI/14) and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (PSI2009-11560 and PSI2014-56680-R). Dr Herle is funded by fellowship from the Medical Research Council UK (MR/T027843/1). A/Prof Colodro-Conde is supported by a QIMR Berghofer fellowship. Publisher Copyright: © Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors

Abstract

Research has emphasized the genetic basis of individual differences in body mass index (BMI); however, genetic factors cannot explain the rapid rise of obesity. Eating behaviors have been stipulated to be the behavioral expression of genetic risk in an obesogenic environment. In this study, we decompose variation and covariation between three key eating behaviors and BMI in a sample of 698 participants, consisting of 167 monozygotic, 150 dizygotic complete same-sex female twins and 64 incomplete pairs from a population-based twin registry in the southeast of Spain, The Murcia Twin Registry. Phenotypes were emotional eating, uncontrolled eating and cognitive restraint, measured by the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire and objectively measured BMI. Variation in eating behaviors was driven by nonshared environmental factors (range: 56%-65%), whereas shared environmental and genetic factors were secondary. All three eating behaviors were correlated with BMI (r = .19-.25). Nonshared environmental factors explained the covariations (Emotional eating-Uncontrolled eating: rE = .54, 95% CI [.43, .64]; BMI-Cognitive restraint: rE = .15, 95% CI [.01, .28]). In contrast to BMI, individual differences in eating behaviors are mostly explained by nonshared environmental factors, which also accounted for the phenotypic correlation between eating behaviors and BMI. Due to the sample size, analyses were underpowered to detect contributions of additive genetic or shared environmental factors to variation and covariation of the phenotypes. Although more research is granted, these results support that eating behaviors could be viable intervention targets to help individuals maintain a healthy weight.

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