Gene-environment interactions between education and body mass: Evidence from the UK and Finland

Soc Sci Med. 2017 Dec;195:12-16. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.10.027. Epub 2017 Nov 3.


More education is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and likelihood of being overweight. However, since a large proportion of the variation in body mass is due to genetic makeup, it has been hypothesized that education may moderate the genetic risk. We estimate main associations between (i) education, (ii) genetic risk, and (iii) interactions between education and genetic risk on BMI and the probability of being overweight in the UK and Finland. The estimates show that education is negatively associated with BMI and overweightness, and genetic risk is positively associated. However, the interactions between education and genetic risk are small and statistically insignificant.

Keywords: Education; Gene-environment interactions; Obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / genetics*
  • United Kingdom