September 2020

IZA DP No. 13671: Association of a Genetic Risk Score with BMI along the Life-Cycle: Evidence from Several US Cohorts

revised version published in: PLoS ONE, 2020, 15 (9), e0239067.

We use data from the The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and from the Health and Retirement Study to explore how the the effect of individuals' genetic predisposition to higher BMI —measured by BMI polygenic scores— changes over the life-cycle for several cohorts. We find that the effect of BMI polygenic scores on BMI increases significantly as teenagers transition into adulthood (using the Add Health cohort, born 1974-83). However, this is not the case for individuals aged 55+ who were born in earlier HRS cohorts (1931-53), whose life-cycle pattern of genetic influence on BMI is remarkably stable as they move into old-age.