CitationJacobson, K. C. & Rowe, D. C. (1998). Genetic and Shared Environmental Influences on Adolescent BMI: Interactions with Race and Sex. Behavior Genetics. vol. 28 pp. 265-278
AbstractThe present study uses a behavioral genetic design to investigate the genetic and environmental influences on variation in adolescent body mass index (BMI) and to determine whether the relative influences of genetic and environmental factors on variation in BMI are similar across racial groups and sexes. Data for the present study come from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health (Add Health), a large, nationally representative study of adolescent health and health-related behaviors. The Add Health sample contains a subset of sibling pairs that differs in levels of genetic relatedness, making it well suited for behavioral genetics analyses. The present study examines whether genetic and environmental influences on adolescent BMI are the same for males and females and for Black and White adolescents. Results indicate that genetic factors contribute substantially to individual differences in adolescent BMI, explaining between 45 and 85% of the variance in BMI. Furthermore, based on an analysis of opposite-sex sibling pairs, the genes that influence variation in adolescent BMI are similar for males and females. However, the relative importance of genetic and environmental influences on variation in BMI differs for males and females and for Blacks and Whites. Although parameter estimates could be constrained to be equal for Black and White males, they could not be constrained to be equal for Black and White females. Moreover, the best-fitting model for Black females was an ADE model, for White females it was an ACE model, and for males it was an AE model. Thus, shared environmental influences are significant for White female adolescents, but not for Black females or males. Likewise, nonadditive genetic influences are indicated for Black females, but not for White females or males. Implications of these results are discussed.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleBehavior Genetics
Author(s)Jacobson, K. C.
Rowe, D. C.