Obesity-susceptibility loci and their influence on adiposity-related traits in transition from adolescence to adulthood--the HUNT study

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46912. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046912. Epub 2012 Oct 19.


Introduction: Obesity-susceptibility loci have been related to adiposity traits in adults and may affect body fat estimates in adolescence. There are indications that different sets of obesity-susceptibility loci influence level of and change in obesity-related traits from adolescence to adulthood.

Objectives: To investigate whether previously reported obesity-susceptible loci in adults influence adiposity traits in adolescence and change in BMI and waist circumference (WC) from adolescence into young adulthood. We also examined whether physical activity modifies the effects of these genetic loci on adiposity-related traits.

Methods: Nine obesity-susceptibility variants were genotyped in 1 643 adolescents (13-19 years old) from the HUNT study, Norway, who were followed-up into young adulthood. Lifestyle was assessed using questionnaires and anthropometric measurements were taken. The effects of genetic variants individually and combined in a genetic predisposition score (GPS) on obesity-related traits were studied cross-sectionally and longitudinally. A modifying effect of physical activity was tested.

Results: The GPS was significantly associated to BMI (B: 0.046 SD/allele [0.020, 0.073], p = 0.001) in adolescence and in young adulthood (B: 0.041 SD/allele [0.015, 0.067], p = 0.002) as it was to waist circumference (WC). The GPS was not associated to change in BMI (p = 0.762) or WC (p = 0.726). We found no significant interaction effect between the GPS and physical activity.

Conclusions: Our observations suggest that obesity-susceptibility loci established in adults affect BMI and WC already in adolescence. However, an association with change in adiposity-related traits from adolescence to adulthood could not be verified for these loci. Neither could an attenuating effect of physical activity on the association between the obesity-susceptibility genes and body fat estimates be revealed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / growth & development
  • Adiposity / genetics*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Body Mass Index
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Genetic Loci*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Norway
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waist Circumference / genetics*