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Childhood adiposity, adult body mass index, and disease in later life

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: (Published 06 May 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m1708

Linked Research

Use of genetic variation to separate the effects of early and later life adiposity on disease risk

  1. C Mary Schooling, associate professor and professor1 2
  1. 1School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  2. 2City University of New York, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, New York, NY, USA
  1. cms1{at}

Puberty might be a key time to reduce adiposity

The linked study by Richardson and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.m1203) suggests that the effect of self-reported adiposity at age 10 on coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes can be obviated by achieving and maintaining a normal body mass index (BMI) in adulthood.1 In addition, childhood adiposity might protect against breast cancer in women and might be unrelated to prostate cancer.1 The study used sophisticated and up-to-date mendelian randomization methods.1 Nevertheless, its findings need careful interpretation and contextualization before they can be applied to population health.

Mendelian randomization is a powerful tool for observational research, which has foreshadowed the findings of randomized controlled trials.2 This method takes advantage of the randomization of genetic material at conception, and so it is similar to a randomized controlled trial in overcoming some types of …

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