The aetiology of obesity in children. A study of 101 twin pairs

Acta Paediatr Scand. 1976 May;65(3):279-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1976.tb04887.x.


The aetiology of obesity in children is studied here with the aid of a material consisting of 40 monozygotic and 61 dizygotic twins. The importance of heredity, early nutrition, and environment during preschool age is analysed. Genetic factors, studied by comparison of intra-pair differences in monozygotic and dizygotic twins, apparently play a decisive role in the origin of obesity. Analysis of the relation between birth weight and later development of subcutaneous fat in different types of twins does not show that intra-uterine nutrition is of aetiological importance. The comparison at age seven of groups of ordinary siblings and twins of different types does not support the idea that the pre-school environment is of importance in aetiology. Such influence seems to act mainly as a modifying factor.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Diseases in Twins*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Skinfold Thickness