Polygenic score for body mass index is associated with disordered eating in a general population cohort

Mohamed Abdulkadir, Moritz Herle, Bianca L. De Stavola, Christopher Hübel, Diana L. Santos Ferreira, Ruth J.F. Loos, Rachel Bryant-Waugh, Cynthia M. Bulik, Nadia Micali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Disordered eating (DE) is common and is associated with body mass index (BMI). We investigated whether genetic variants for BMI were associated with DE. Methods: BMI polygenic scores (PGS) were calculated for participants of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 8654) and their association with DE tested. Data on DE behaviors (e.g., binge eating and compensatory behaviors) were collected at ages 14, 16, 18 years, and DE cognitions (e.g., body dissatisfaction) at 14 years. Mediation analyses determined whether BMI mediated the association between the BMI-PGS and DE. Results: The BMI-PGS was positively associated with fasting (OR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.25, 1.61), binge eating (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.12, 1.46), purging (OR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.42), body dissatisfaction (Beta = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.77, 1.22), restrained eating (Beta = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.10, 1.17), emotional eating (Beta = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.052, 0.38), and negatively associated with thin ideal internalization (Beta = −0.15, 95% CI = −0.23, −0.07) and external eating (Beta = −0.19, 95% CI = −0.30, −0.09). These associations were mainly mediated by BMI. Conclusions: Genetic variants associated with BMI are also associated with DE. This association was mediated through BMI suggesting that weight potentially sits on the pathway from genetic liability to DE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1187
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
  • Body mass index
  • Disordered eating behaviors
  • Disordered eating cognitions
  • Polygenic scores


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