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07-05-2017 | Obesity | News

More genetic evidence for BMI cardiometabolic risk

medwireNews: A mendelian randomization analysis adds to the evidence that body mass index (BMI) leads directly to type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and coronary heart disease.

The study, which appears in JAMA Cardiology is similar to one published earlier this year, which also employed mendelian randomization, and, indeed, much of the same study population, but focused on waist-to-hip ratio, adjusted for BMI, to explore the risks associated with abdominal obesity. Like the current study, it reported a strong link with increased cardiometabolic risk.

The current analysis used 93 single-nucleotide polymorphisms linked to BMI in previous genome-wide association studies and applied them to 119,859 individuals, aged an average of 57 years with an average BMI of 27.53 kg/m2, from the UK Biobank.

Donald Lyall (University of Glasgow, UK) and co-researchers found that each 1 standard deviation increase in genetic risk for higher BMI was associated with a significant 1.64-fold increased likelihood for having hypertension and 1.35-fold increased likelihood for having coronary heart disease.

These risk increases were similar in size to those observed for the cross-sectional relationship between these outcomes and participants’ measured BMI. Diabetes, however, was more strongly associated with participants’ genetic propensity to BMI than with their measured BMI, at respective odds ratios of 2.53 and 1.97.

“This is often the case in [mendelian randomization] analyses since the genetic instrument represents a lifelong exposure to a risk factor and minimizes regression dilution bias,” observe the researchers.

They conclude: “Body mass index represents an important modifiable risk factor for ameliorating the risk of cardiometabolic disease in the general population.”

By Eleanor McDermid

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2017 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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