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Programming and genetic variability of body composition: a twin study

Ponde, S.; (2009) Programming and genetic variability of body composition: a twin study. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide and has both long and short term impacts on health. While lifestyle factors play a role, the influence of ‘early life programming' of body composition development is increasingly investigated. However, the mechanisms that drive the programming process are still poorly understood. Research now suggests epigenetics may be a potential mechanism, specifically the effect of imprinted genes and therefore requires further investigation. The aim of this study was to investigate (1) whether the intrauterine growth programmes later body composition, and (2) whether expression of the imprinted gene IGF2 is associated with childhood lean or fat mass. 65 twin pairs (38 DZ twins and 27 MZ twins) were recruited along with 28 of their siblings aged between 6 and 19 years. Anthropometry and 4 component measurements were obtained on all participants. Birthweight was used as a proxy for in utero growth, while post natal weight gain was calculated as change in weight between birth and follow-up. The results showed that birthweight was largely unassociated with body composition outcomes but showed trends towards associations with lean mass in boys and fat mass in girls that might become significant with a larger sample size. In contrast, the postnatal growth period was shown to be consistently significantly associated with body composition outcomes for both fat and mean mass. Expression of lGF2 was not associated with either lean or lat components of body composition. The conclusion therefore is that the postnatal period appears to be the period that most influences body composition in later life, therefore interventions during this period could help alter the trajectory of growth that could possibly lead to poor body composition development. However, there was little evidence that lGF2 is a key component of the programming process whereby growth impacts on later body composition.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Programming and genetic variability of body composition: a twin study
Language: English
Additional information: Authorisation for digitisation not received
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/17265
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