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Waist circumference is genetically correlated with incident Type 2 diabetes in Mexican-American families




We aimed to determine the genetic and environmental correlation between various anthropometric indexes and incident Type 2 diabetes with a focus on waist circumference.


We used the data on extended Mexican-American families (808 subjects, 7617.92 person-years follow-up) from the San Antonio Family Heart Study and estimated the genetic and environmental correlations of 16 anthropometric indexes with the genetic liability of incident Type 2 diabetes. We performed bivariate trait analyses using the solar software package.


All 16 anthropometric indexes were significantly heritable (range of heritabilities 0.24–0.99). Thirteen indexes were found to have significant environmental correlation with the liability of incident Type 2 diabetes. In contrast, only anthropometric indexes consisting of waist circumference (waist circumference, waist–hip ratio and waist–height ratio) were significantly genetically correlated (genetic correlation coefficients: 0.45, 0.55 and 0.44, respectively) with the liability of incident Type 2 diabetes. We did not observe such a correlation for BMI.


Waist circumference as a predictor of future Type 2 diabetes is supported by the finding that they share common genetic influences.