Genetic predisposition to obesity and lifestyle factors--the combined analyses of twenty-six known BMI- and fourteen known waist:hip ratio (WHR)-associated variants in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study

Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov;110(10):1856-65. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001116. Epub 2013 May 14.


Recent genome-wide association studies have identified multiple loci associated with BMI or the waist:hip ratio (WHR). However, evidence on gene-lifestyle interactions is still scarce, and investigation of the effects of well-documented dietary and other lifestyle data is warranted to assess whether genetic risk can be modified by lifestyle. We assessed whether previously established BMI and WHR genetic variants associate with obesity and weight change in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study, and whether the associations are modified by dietary factors or physical activity. Individuals (n 459) completed a 3 d food record and were genotyped for twenty-six BMI- and fourteen WHR-related variants. The effects of the variants individually and in combination were investigated in relation to obesity and to 1- and 3-year weight change by calculating genetic risk scores (GRS). The GRS were separately calculated for BMI and the WHR by summing the increasing alleles weighted by their published effect sizes. At baseline, the GRS were not associated with total intakes of energy, macronutrients or fibre. The mean 1- and 3-year weight changes were not affected by the BMI or WHR GRS. During the 3-year follow-up, a trend for higher BMI by the GRS was detected especially in those who reported a diet low in fibre (P for interaction=0·065). Based on the present findings, it appears unlikely that obesity-predisposing variants substantially modify the effect of lifestyle modification on the success of weight reduction in the long term. In addition, these findings suggest that the association between the BMI-related genetic variants and obesity could be modulated by the diet.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist-Hip Ratio*
  • Weight Loss / genetics*