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Does the sex of one’s co-twin affect height and BMI in adulthood?: A study of dizygotic adult twins from 31 cohorts
Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM, Finland and University of Helsinki, Finland.
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Institute of Gerontology. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. ARN-J (Aging Research Network - Jönköping). Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6305-8993
Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM, Finland and University of Helsinki, Finland.
Number of Authors: 76
2017 (English)In: Biology of Sex Differences, ISSN 2042-6410, Vol. 8, no 1, 14Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The comparison of traits in twins from opposite-sex (OS) and same-sex (SS) dizygotic twin pairs is considered a proxy measure of prenatal hormone exposure. To examine possible prenatal hormonal influences on anthropometric traits, we compared mean height, body mass index (BMI) and the prevalence of being overweight or obese between men and women from OS and SS dizygotic twin pairs.

Methods: The data were derived from COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) database, and included 68,494 SS and 53,808 OS dizygotic twin individuals above the age of 20 years from 31 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. Zygosity was determined by questionnaires or DNA genotyping depending on the study. Multiple regression and logistic regression models adjusted for cohort, age and birth year with the twin type as a predictor were carried out to compare height and BMI in twins from OS pairs with those from SS pairs and to calculate the adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for being overweight or obese.

Results: OS females were, on average, 0.31 cm (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.20, 0.41) taller than SS females. OS males were also, on average, taller than SS males, but this difference was only 0.14 cm (95% CI: 0.02, 0.27). Mean BMI and the prevalence of overweight or obesity did not differ between males and females from SS and OS twin pairs. The statistically significant differences between OS and SS twins for height were small and appeared to reflect our large sample size rather than meaningful differences of public health relevance.

Conclusions: We found no evidence to support the hypothesis that prenatal hormonal exposure or postnatal socialization (i.e., having grown up with a twin of the opposite sex) has a major impact on height and BMI in adulthood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2017. Vol. 8, no 1, 14
Keyword [en]
Prenatal hormone exposure, opposite-sex twins, height, body mass index, CODATwins
National Category
Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-35364DOI: 10.1186/s13293-017-0134-xISI: 000400473600001PubMedID: 28465822Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85018185459Local ID: HHJÅldrandeISOAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-35364DiVA: diva2:1088377
Available from: 2017-04-12 Created: 2017-04-12 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Dahl Aslan, Anna K.

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