12 noon - 1pm
Thursday 27 February 2020
Genetic control of BMI dynamics: a tale of longitudinal growth models and instrumental variables
Speaker: Dr. Alex Couto Alves
Critical periods in body mass index (BMI) trajectory predict childhood obesity and cardio-metabolic conditions. BMI trajectory is nonlinear and nonmonotonic reflecting the influence of genetics, pre-conceptional, gestational, and chilldhood environment. However, the regulation of BMI dynamics in childhood is poorly understood.
Here, we discuss the application of growth models to longitudinal BMI data, which we then use to identify genes controlling BMI dynamics. We estimate model parameters reflecting age and BMI at different critical periods in infancy and childhood and demonstrate that different genetic factors control BMI in these periods.
In the second part of this talk, I will present preliminary results delineating a mechanism linking birth weight to BMI dynamics using an instrumental variable approach. We show that childhood BMI partly mediates the influence of birth weight on adult BMI. However, this study also reveals that alternative pathways must exist, suggesting that prevention of childhood obesity may need to start earlier than originally thought.
This work informs on the targets and periods for prevention and treatment of childhood obesity and adult cardiometabolic conditions
University of Surrey
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