Washington:Greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) could influence genetic vulnerability to high body mass index (BMI) and increase obesity risk, a new study has revealed.The study by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health reinforces the view that environmental and genetic factors may act together to shape obesity risk.“Our study for the first time provides reproducible evidence from three prospective cohorts to show genetic and dietary factors—sugar-sweetened beverages—may mutually influence their effects on body weight and obesity risk,” Lu Qi, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and senior author of the study, said.“The findings may motivate further research on interactions between genomic variation and environmental factors regarding human health,” he said.In the past three decades, consumption of SSBs has increased dramatically worldwide.Although widespread evidence supports a link between SSBs, obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, there has been little research on whether environmental factors, such as drinking sugary beverages, influence genetic predisposition to obesity.The research was based on data from three large cohorts, 121,700 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, 51,529 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 25,000 in the Women’s Genome Health Study.All of the participants had completed food-frequency questionnaires detailing their food and drink consumption over time.The researchers analysed data from 6,934 women from NHS, 4,423 men from HPFS, and 21,740 women from WGHS who were of European ancestry and for whom genotype data based on genome-wide association studies were available.
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