Background: Recent large-scale genomic studies have provided evidence that a number of genetic variants implicate an inverse relationship between increased adiposity and an unfavorable cardiometabolic profile. So far, it is not known whether the loci showing “favorable adiposity”-like associations exert their influence already in childhood.
Objectives: The aims of the project proposed are 1.The identification of gene variants associated with increased adiposity yet a favorable cardiometabolic profile in children and adolescents and 2. Identification of the childhood genetic and environmental predictors of adult metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) and metabolically unhealthy normal weight (MUNW).
The approach: To study, whether such “favorable adiposity” genetic effects are found already in childhood, I will perform a meta-analysis of six child populations from Finland, Denmark and England including a total sample size of 10,038 children and adolescents aged 3-18 years. To examine associations of childhood genetic and environmental factors with MHO and MUNW in adulthood, I will utilize follow-up data from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study.
The impact: Identification of MHO and MUNW related genetic variants in children and the childhood predictors of adult MHO and MUNW will help to assess the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as to target interventions in the high-risk groups. The ability to improve advice and intervention measures would help alleviate the burden of obesity-related comorbidities on health care systems worldwide. Moreover, this project will allow me to learn highly valuable research skills in the area of genetics and meta-analyses related to cardiometabolic risk factors and support my professional and research advancement.
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