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Achieved Educational Attainment, Inherited Genetic Endowment for Education, and Obesity

Citation

Li, Yi; Cai, Tianji; Wang, Hongyu; & Guo, Guang (2021). Achieved Educational Attainment, Inherited Genetic Endowment for Education, and Obesity. Biodemography and Social Biology, 66(2), 132-144.

Abstract

This study investigates two sources of education effects on obesity - achieved educational attainment and inherited genetic endowment for education. In doing so, we accomplish two goals. First, we assess the role of genetic confounding in the association between education and health. Second, we consider the heterogeneity in the extent to which genetic potential for education is realized, and we examine its impact on obesity. Data come from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Using a polygenic score approach, we find that, net of genetic confounding, holding a college degree is associated with a lower likelihood of obesity. Moreover, among individuals who hold a college degree, those with a high education polygenic score (a greater genetic propensity to succeed in education) are less likely to be obese than those with a relatively low education polygenic score. However, when individuals with a high education polygenic score do not have a college degree, their risk of obesity is similar to that of non-college-educated individuals with a low education polygenic score, suggesting that the effect of genetic endowment for education on obesity is conditional on college education.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19485565.2020.1869919

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2021

Journal Title

Biodemography and Social Biology

Author(s)

Li, Yi
Cai, Tianji
Wang, Hongyu
Guo, Guang

Article Type

Regular

Data Set/Study

National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health)

Continent/Country

United States of America

State

Nonspecific

ORCiD

Guo - 0000-0002-4465-9881