Associations between obesity and asthma in a large sample of twins

S.F. Thomsen, C.S. Ulrik, K. Kyvik, T.I.A. Sorensen, D. Posthuma, L.R. Skadhauge, I. Steffensen, V. Backer

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Background: Obesity is linked to asthma in a yet poorly understood manner. We examined the relationship between obesity and asthma in a population-based sample of twins. Methods: From the cohorts born between 1953 and 1982, who were enrolled in The Danish Twin Registry, a total of 29 183 twin individuals participated in a nationwide questionnaire study, where data on height, weight and asthma were collected. Latent factor models of genetic and environmental effects were fitted using maximum likelihood methods. Results: The age-adjusted risk of asthma was increased both in obese females, OR = 1.96 (1.45-2.64), P ≤ 0.001 and in obese males, OR = 1.59 (1.08-2.33), P = 0.02. According to best-fitting models, the heritability for obesity was 81% in males and 92% in females, whereas the heritability for asthma was 78% and 68% in males and females respectively. The age-adjusted genetic liabilities to obesity and asthma were significantly correlated only in females, r = 0.28 (0.16-0.38). Conclusions: Obese subjects have an increased risk for asthma, which in females seems partly because of common genes. © 2007 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1204
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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