We use genome-wide data from the 1992-2016 Health and Retirement Study (n = 12,090) to characterize obesity among older adults as genetically or socially oriented. To illustrate the significance of this approach for social epidemiological research, we deem those with the lowest genetic risk for obesity to be socially-behaviorally obese and obesity among those with the highest polygenic risk is characterized as genetically oriented. We then examine the association between obesity and four indicators of cardiovascular health (type-2 diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, and stroke) among those with low, average, and high genetic risk. Our results show that the association between obesity and cardiovascular health is significantly higher for those with the lowest genetic risk (e.g., social-behavioral obesity). We also demonstrate important sex differences such that this association is particularly strong for heart problems among men and hypertension and stroke among women. Our results further demonstrate the centrality of the social and behavioral determinants of health by utilizing detailed information across the human genome and add to both social and genetic epidemiology literatures.
About The Author
Trent Davidson,Justin Vinneau-Palarino,Joshua A Goode,Jason D Boardman
Joshua A Goode
Jason D Boardman