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July 4, 1986

A Twin Study of Human Obesity

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Dr Stunkard); and the Medical Follow-up Agency, National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, Washington, DC (Dr Hrubec). Dr Foch was formerly with the Pennsylvania State University. Dr Hrubec is now with the Radiation Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1986;256(1):51-54. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380010055024

Height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) were assessed in a sample of 1974 monozygotic and 2097 dizygotic male twin pairs. Concordance rates for different degrees of overweight were twice as high for monozygotic twins as for dizygotic twins. Classic twin methods estimated a high heritability for height, weight, and BMI, both at age 20 years (.80,.78, and.77, respectively) and at a 25-year follow-up (.80,.81, and.84, respectively). Height, weight, and BMI were highly correlated across time, and a path analysis suggested that the major part of that covariation was genetic. These results are similar to those of other twin studies of these measures and suggest that human fatness is under substantial genetic control.

(JAMA 1986;256:51-54)

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