The objective of this study was to determine the genetic and environmental contributions to variation in BMI over time in European-American (EA) and African-American (AA) adolescent and young adult women. Self-reported BMI (kg/m2) data from 2,816 EA (1,306 twin pairs, 56.5% monozygotic (MZ)) and 404 AA (178 twin pairs, 42.7% MZ) women at aseline (T1; median age 15 years) and 3,225 EA (1,511 twin pairs, 55.3% MZ) and 539 AA (252 pairs, 43.3% MZ) women at follow-up (T2; median age 22 years) from a Midwestern US, population-based twin registry were used to construct biometrical genetic models. For EA women, the majority of the variance in BMI was attributable to additive genetic effects at both time points (82% for each), with the remaining variance attributable to nonshared environment. Genetic and nonshared environment correlations between adolescent and young adult BMI were 0.87 and 0.23, respectively.Among AA women, nonadditive genetic effects comprised 68% of the variance at T1 and 73% at T2, and were highly correlated (rD = 0.94). The proportions of variance attributable to nonshared environment at T1 (29%) and T2 (25%) were more modestly correlated (rE = 0.31). The remaining variance in AA women could be attributed to additive genetic effects. Additive vs. nonadditive genetic effects contribute differentially to BMI in AA vs. EA adolescent and young adult women.Additional research is needed to better characterize the environmental and genetic factors related to BMI in persons of different races to aid understanding of the complex determinants of body weight in individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1043
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


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