Sex Difference in Heritability of BMI in South Korean Adolescent Twins


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed, in part, by the payment of page charges. This article must, therefore, be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

Department of Psychology, Chonnam National University, 300 Yongbong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-757, Korea. E-mail:


Twin studies of BMI on the basis of Asian twins are extremely rare. Eight hundred eighty-eight pairs of twins [279 monozygotic (MZ) and 82 dizygotic (DZ) pairs of male twins, 319 MZ and 82 DZ pairs of female twins, and 126 opposite-sex pairs of DZ twins] completed items concerning height and weight through a mail and a telephone survey. A general sex-limitation model was applied to the data. Heritability estimate was greater among women than among men. However, there was little evidence of sex-specific genes. Under the best-fitting model, additive genetic variances were 82% [95% confidence interval (CI): 72% to 95%] for men and 87% (95% CI: 77% to 99%) for women; shared environmental variances were negligible in both men and women. These estimates of genetic and environmental factors in BMI found among South Korean adolescent twins were broadly in the range of those reported in previous studies of BMI based on Western twin samples.