Genetic Susceptibility, Change in Physical Activity, and Long-term Weight Gain


Wang T, Huang T, Heianza Y, Sun D, Zheng Y, Ma W, Jensen MK, Kang JH, Wiggs JL, Pasquale LR, Rimm EB, Manson JAE, Hu FB, Willett WC, Qi L. Genetic Susceptibility, Change in Physical Activity, and Long-term Weight Gain. Diabetes 2017;66(10):2704-2712.

Date Published:

2017 Oct


Whether change in physical activity over time modifies the genetic susceptibility to long-term weight gain is unknown. We calculated a BMI-genetic risk score (GRS) based on 77 BMI-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a body fat percentage (BF%)-GRS based on 12 BF%-associated SNPs in 9,390 women from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and 5,291 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS). We analyzed the interactions between each GRS and change in physical activity on BMI/body weight change within five 4-year intervals from 1986 to 2006 using multivariable generalized linear models with repeated-measures analyses. Both the BMI-GRS and the BF%-GRS were associated with long-term increases in BMI/weight, and change in physical activity consistently interacted with the BF%-GRS on BMI change in the NHS (P for interaction = 0.025) and HPFS (P for interaction = 0.001). In the combined cohorts, 4-year BMI change per 10-risk allele increment was -0.02 kg/m(2) among participants with greatest increase in physical activity and 0.24 kg/m(2) among those with greatest decrease in physical activity (P for interaction < 0.001), corresponding to 0.01 kg versus 0.63 kg weight changes every 4 years (P for interaction = 0.001). Similar but marginal interactions were observed for the BMI-GRS (P for interaction = 0.045). Our data indicate that the genetic susceptibility to weight gain may be diminished by increasing physical activity.

Last updated on 10/24/2017