Association between impulsivity traits and body mass index at the observational and genetic epidemiology level

David Meyre, Sebat Mohamed, Joshua C. Gray, Jessica Weafer, James MacKillop, Harriet de Wit

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8 Scopus citations


We investigated the association between impulsivity related traits and BMI at the observational and genetic epidemiology level in a cross-sectional population of healthy young American-European adults. We studied 998 students and university staff of European ancestry recruited from Chicago (Illinois) and Athens (Georgia). We measured 14 impulsivity variables using three broad categories: impulsive choice, action and personality. Weight and height of participants were measured by research assistants. The single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs3751812 in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene was genotyped using the Illumina PsychArray BeadChip platform. Within the three broad domains of impulsivity, 4 parameters (delay discounting of rewards area under the curve and average of k indexes, Conner’s continuous performance test, and negative urgency) were associated with BMI. The FTO rs3751812 minor allele T was associated with higher BMI. Of the 14 impulsivity variables, rs3751812 T was associated with more premeditation and perseverance, before and after adjusting for BMI. The association between FTO rs3751812 and BMI adjusted for premeditation remained significant, but disappeared after adjusting for perseverance and for both perseverance and premeditation traits. Our observational and genetic data indicate a complex pattern of association between impulsive behaviors and BMI in healthy young American-European adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17583
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

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© 2019, The Author(s).

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