Influence of genes on body mass grows with age in kids

The influence of genetic factors on differences between children’s Body Mass Index (BMI) increases from 43% at age 4 to 82% at age 10, reports a new study by researchers at UCL and King’s College London.

The research, published in the journal Obesity, combined twin and genomic analyses in 2556 pairs of twins from the Twins Early Development Study. Data were collected in England and Wales in 1999 and 2005 when the twins were 4 and 10 years old respectively. The study was supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) with additional funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

The twin analysis confirmed previous studies with a doubling of genetic influence, called ‘heritability’, showing that the reasons that some boys and girls are bigger than others are 43% genetic at age 4 and 82% genetic at age 10. One explanation for this may be that as children get older, they have increased independence to seek out environmental opportunities to express their genetic predispositions, a process ‘termed gene-environment correlation’.

Read the full, original story: Genetics explain why some kids are bigger than others

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