Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Higher childhood BMI associated with increased risk of cardio-metabolic disease later in life

Childhood BMI and Adult Type 2 Diabetes, Coronary Artery Diseases, Chronic Kidney Disease, and Cardiometabolic Traits: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis

Geng T, Smith CE, Li C, et al. - Diabetes Care 2018; published online ahead of print


Observational studies show that a higher body-mass-index (BMI) during childhood is associated with an increased risk of cardio-metabolic diseases later in life [1,2]. Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses show that there is a causal association between adult obesity and coronary artery disease (CAD), type 2 diabetes (T2DM), and cardio-metabolic traits in midlife [3,4], but the causal effect of childhood obesity on these outcomes in adults is not known.

In this MR analysis, the causal effect of childhood BMI on adult T2DM, CAD, and chronic kidney disease (CKD) was examined. Moreover, the causal effect of childhood BMI on adult levels of cardio-metabolic traits, such as anthropometrics, glycemic traits, and lipids was evaluated.

For this purpose, 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; P<5x10-8) were identified from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) by the Early Growth Genetics (EGG) consortium, and a genetic risk score was created that summed the number of BMI-increasing alleles weighted based on their β. The genetic risk score was strongly associated with childhood BMI (P=3.12x10-10), and explained 2.0% of the variance in childhood BMI [5].

Main results

A one-SD increase in childhood BMI was causally associated with a:


A genetic predisposition to higher childhood BMI was associated with an increased risk of T2DM, CAD, and cardio-metabolic traits in adult life. These results show that there is a substantial public health impact of childhood BMI modification.


Show references

Find this article online at Diabetes Care 2018