Sensitivity Genotype Moderates the Link between Objective Weight and Perceived Weight Status among Young Women in the U.S.

Robbee L. Wedow, University of Colorado, Boulder
Jason D. Boardman, University of Colorado, Boulder

To date, a limited body of work has evaluated the pathways through which the same objective weight leads to different perceived weight status assessments. This study evaluates the role of a common genetic polymorphism of the 5HTTLPR gene as a potential link between objective body-mass index and perceived weight using a nationally representative sample of adolescents as they age to adulthood. Genetic data from Waves I- IV of the Add Health Study is used to investigate whether the short allele genotype of 5HTT moderates the association between measured body-mass index and perceived, self-reported weight. Results confirm significant sensitivity for women in Waves I and II at heavier BMI values. Overall, this study shows a link between a specific polymorphism and sensitivity to social cues about body size. It may therefore provide the foundations for important future work that investigates the forces that lead young women in America to characterize their "ideal weight".

  See paper

Presented in Session 21: Genetic Risk and Family, Environment and the Life Course