Longitudinal Analysis of Genetic Susceptibility and BMI Throughout Adult Life

Little is known about the genetic influence on BMI trajectory throughout adulthood. We created a genetic risk score (GRS) comprising 97 adult BMI-associated variants among 9,971 women and 6,405 men of European ancestry. Serial measures of BMI were assessed from 18 (women) or 21 (men) years to 85 years of age. We also examined BMI change in early (from 18 or 21 to 45 years of age), middle (from 45 to 65 years of age), and late adulthood (from 65 to 80 years of age). GRS was positively associated with BMI across all ages, with stronger associations in women than in men. The associations increased from early to middle adulthood, peaked at 45 years of age in men and at 60 years of age in women (0.91 and 1.35 kg/m2 per 10-allele increment, respectively) and subsequently declined in late adulthood. For women, each 10-allele increment in the GRS was associated with an average BMI gain of 0.54 kg/m2 in early adulthood, whereas no statistically significant association was found for BMI change in middle or late adulthood or for BMI change in any life period in men. Our findings indicate that genetic predisposition exerts a persistent effect on adiposity throughout adult life and increases early adulthood weight gain in women.