Objective Many confirmed genetic loci for obesity are expressed in regions of the brain that regulate energy intake and reward-seeking behavior. Whether these loci contribute to the development of specific eating behaviors has not been investigated. The relationship between a genetic susceptibility to obesity and cognitive restraint, uncontrolled and emotional eating was examined. Methods Eating behavior and body mass index (BMI) were determined by questionnaires for 1471 men and 2381 women from two US cohorts. Genotypes were extracted from genome-wide scans and a genetic-risk score (GRS) derived from 32 obesity-loci was calculated. Results The GRS was positively associated with emotional and uncontrolled eating (P<0.002). In exploratory analysis, BMI-increasing variants of MTCH2, TNNI3K, and ZC3H4 were positively associated with emotional eating and those of TNNI3K and ZC3H4 were positively associated with uncontrolled eating. The BMI-increasing variant of FTO was positively and those of LRP1B and TFAP2B were inversely associated with cognitive restraint. These associations for single SNPs were independent of BMI but were not significant after multiple-testing correction. Conclusions An overall genetic susceptibility to obesity may also extend to eating behaviors. The link between specific loci and obesity may be mediated by eating behavior but larger studies are warranted to confirm these results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism