Risky Early Family Environment and Genetic Associations with Adult Metabolic Dysregulation


Growing up in a family environment characterized by neglectful parenting, overt conflict, and unsupportive relationships is associated with poor health in adulthood. A risky early family environment may also be associated with obesity in adulthood, likely through the activation of the HPA axis. Likewise, the GABAergic (gamma-aminobutyric acid) T>C single nucleotide polymorphism in the 1519 nucleotide position of the GABAAα6 receptor subunit gene has been associated with a predisposition to a higher body mass index and a larger waist circumference. Participants (n = 213, Mage = 30.13 years, SD = 10.85; 57.7% men) from the Pittsburgh Cold Study 3 completed a demographic questionnaire, the Risky Families Questionnaire (RFQ) and had their height, weight, and waist circumference measured during a physical exam. Participant DNA was recovered from buccal swabs and genotyped for the various allelic types of the SNP according to published protocols. In secondary data analyses, we tested the hypothesis that early family environment and GABRA6 would be positively associated with body mass index and waist circumference. We also examined diurnal cortisol as a mechanism linking both early risky family environment and GABRA6 to metabolic outcomes. The findings provide evidence that a risky early family environment may exert more influence than genetic predisposition when determining the indices of metabolic health in adulthood.


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early risky family environment, genetic, body mass index, waist circumference


Huizar YP, Cundiff JM, Schmidt AT, Cribbet MR. Risky Early Family Environment and Genetic Associations with Adult Metabolic Dysregulation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(21):14032. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192114032