Waist circumference is genetically correlated with incident Type 2 diabetes in Mexican-American families

Diabet Med. 2014 Jan;31(1):31-5. doi: 10.1111/dme.12266. Epub 2013 Jul 13.


Aims: We aimed to determine the genetic and environmental correlation between various anthropometric indexes and incident Type 2 diabetes with a focus on waist circumference.

Methods: We used the data on extended Mexican-American families (808 subjects, 7617.92 person-years follow-up) from the San Antonio Family Heart Study and estimated the genetic and environmental correlations of 16 anthropometric indexes with the genetic liability of incident Type 2 diabetes. We performed bivariate trait analyses using the solar software package.

Results: All 16 anthropometric indexes were significantly heritable (range of heritabilities 0.24-0.99). Thirteen indexes were found to have significant environmental correlation with the liability of incident Type 2 diabetes. In contrast, only anthropometric indexes consisting of waist circumference (waist circumference, waist-hip ratio and waist-height ratio) were significantly genetically correlated (genetic correlation coefficients: 0.45, 0.55 and 0.44, respectively) with the liability of incident Type 2 diabetes. We did not observe such a correlation for BMI.

Conclusions: Waist circumference as a predictor of future Type 2 diabetes is supported by the finding that they share common genetic influences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance* / ethnology
  • Insulin Resistance* / genetics
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / genetics*
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference* / ethnology
  • Waist Circumference* / genetics