Viva la Familia Study: Genetic and environmental contributions to childhood obesity and its comorbidities in the Hispanic population

Nancy F. Butte, Guowen Cai, Shelley A. Cole, Anthony G. Comuzzie

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    Abstract

    Background: Genetic and environmental contributions to childhood obesity are poorly delineated. Objective: The Viva la Familia Study was designed to genetically map childhood obesity and its comorbidities in the Hispanic population. The objectives of this report were to describe the study design and to summarize genetic and environmental contributions to the phenotypic variation in obesity and risk factors for metabolic diseases in Hispanic children. Design: The Viva la Familia cohort consisted of 1030 children from 319 families selected based on an overweight proband between the ages of 4 and 19 y. In-depth phenotyping to characterize the overweight children and their siblings included anthropometric and body-composition traits by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and assessments of diet by 24-h recalls, physical activity by accelerometry, and risk factors for metabolic diseases by standard biochemical methods. Univariate quantitative genetic analysis was used to partition phenotypic variance into additive genetic and environmental components by using the computer program SOLAR. Results: Sex, age, and environmental covariates explained 1-91% of the phenotypic variance. Heritabilities of anthropometric indexes ranged from 0.24 to 0.75. Heritability coefficients for the body-composition traits ranged from 0.18 to 0.35. Diet and physical activity presented heritabilities of 0.32 to 0.69. Risk factors for metabolic diseases were heritable with coefficients ranging from 0.25 to 0.73. Significant genetic correlations between obesity traits and risk factors for metabolic diseases substantiated pleiotropy between traits. Conclusion: The Viva la Familia Study provides evidence of a strong genetic contribution to the high prevalence of obesity and its comorbidities in Hispanic children.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)646-654
    Number of pages9
    JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
    Volume84
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

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    Keywords

    • Dyslipidemia
    • Environment
    • Genetics
    • Hypertension
    • Insulin resistance
    • Obesity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (miscellaneous)
    • Nutrition and Dietetics

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