A twin study of human obesity

JAMA. 1986 Jul 4;256(1):51-4.


Height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) were assessed in a sample of 1974 monozygotic and 2097 dizygotic male twin pairs. Concordance rates for different degrees of overweight were twice as high for monozygotic twins as for dizygotic twins. Classic twin methods estimated a high heritability for height, weight, and BMI, both at age 20 years (.80, .78, and .77, respectively) and at a 25-year follow-up (.80, .81, and .84, respectively). Height, weight, and BMI were highly correlated across time, and a path analysis suggested that the major part of that covariation was genetic. These results are similar to those of other twin studies of these measures and suggest that human fatness is under substantial genetic control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Diseases in Twins*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Military Personnel
  • National Academy of Sciences, U.S.
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Registries
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • United States