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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
To demonstrate that dietary datasets from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, a US population survey, allow comparisons with national data and provide food composition datasets that can be used to generate similar dietary data.
Two studies are described: the Lower Mississippi Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (Delta NIRI), which used a 24-hour recall, and a Department of Defense Military Nutrition Research Task, which used 3-day dietary records. Both studies used the same food composition tables.
Rural Lower Mississippi Delta and an Army post.
Four hundred and nine residents (adults and children) from the rural Delta region of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and 74 career soldiers from the Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas.
The Delta NIRI study found that fruit and vegetable consumption for these rural residents was lower than that found nationally. Additionally, the quality of vegetable servings is of concern since a large percentage came from french fries and potato chips. In the Sergeants Major Academy study, the national survey food composition tables allowed for easy analysis of intake data and comparisons with dietary recommendations.
Strategies similar to those used for the Delta NIRI and Military Nutrition Research Task can be used widely, allowing comparisons of ‘defined populations’ with nationally distributed data. Additionally, measurement of dietary change is more efficient when the same protocol is used subsequently to collect more data, a method similar to that used by the US Department of Agriculture to describe food consumption patterns from one survey to another.
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