Adiposity Genetic Score Linked to Risk of Cardiometabolic Disease

(HealthDay News) — Data from a large cohort have replicated the association between the genetic risk score of 11 favorable adiposity variants with lower risk of cardiometabolic disease, according to research published in Diabetes.

Hanieh Yaghootkar, MD, PhD, from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used data from 164 609 individuals from the UK Biobank and 5 other studies to explore the associations between a genetic score of adiposity variants and risk for disease.

The researchers found that the body mass indexes (BMIs) and body fat percentage were higher for the 50% of individuals carrying the most favorable adiposity alleles from the UK Biobank vs the 50% carrying the fewest alleles. For a given BMI, individuals carrying the most favorable adiposity alleles had lower risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR]: 0.837), lower risk of hypertension (OR: 0.935), and lower risk of heart disease (OR: 0.921). In women, the alleles associated with higher BMI but lower risk of disease also correlated with lower waist-hip ratio; the favorable adiposity alleles correlated with higher waist circumference and higher waist-to-hip ratio in men. Results were strengthened on meta-analysis with the additional studies.

“Different molecular mechanisms that lead to higher body fat percentage (with greater subcutaneous storage capacity) can have different impacts on cardiometabolic disease risk,” the authors write. “While higher BMI is associated with higher risk of diseases, better fat storage capacity could reduce the risk.”

One of the studies was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb.


  1. Yaghootkar H, Lotta LA, Tyrell J, et al. Genetic evidence for a link between favorable adiposity and lower risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Diabetes. 2016; doi: 10.2337/db15-1671.