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Behavioural susceptibility theory: the role of appetite in genetic susceptibility to obesity in early life

Llewellyn, CH; Kininmonth, AR; Herle, M; Nas, Z; Smith, AD; Carnell, S; Fildes, A; (2023) Behavioural susceptibility theory: the role of appetite in genetic susceptibility to obesity in early life. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 378 (1885) , Article 20220223. 10.1098/rstb.2022.0223. Green open access

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Abstract

Excess weight gained during the early years and, in particular, rapid weight gain in the first 2 years of life, are a major risk factors for adult obesity. The growing consensus is that childhood obesity develops from a complex interaction between genetic susceptibility and exposure to an 'obesogenic' environment. Behavioural susceptibility theory (BST) was developed to explain the nature of this gene-environment interaction, and why the 'obesogenic' environment does not affect all children equally. It hypothesizes that inherited variation in appetite, which is present from birth, determines why some infants and children overeat, and others do not, in response to environmental opportunity. That is, those who inherit genetic variants promoting an avid appetite are vulnerable to overeating and developing obesity, while those who are genetically predisposed to have a smaller appetite and lower interest in food are protected from obesity-or even at risk of being underweight. We review the breadth of research to-date that has contributed to the evidence base for BST, focusing on early life, and discuss implications and future directions for research and theory. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Causes of obesity: theories, conjectures and evidence (Part I)'.

Type: Article
Title: Behavioural susceptibility theory: the role of appetite in genetic susceptibility to obesity in early life
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2022.0223
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2022.0223
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: appetite, behavioural susceptibility theory, environment, genes, obesity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10174181
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