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Twin Res Hum Genet. 2016 Apr;19(2):112-24. doi: 10.1017/thg.2016.11.

Twin's Birth-Order Differences in Height and Body Mass Index From Birth to Old Age: A Pooled Study of 26 Twin Cohorts Participating in the CODATwins Project.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health Nursing,Osaka City University,Osaka,Japan.
2
Department of Social Research,University of Helsinki,Helsinki,Finland.
3
Department of Epidemiology,School of Public Health,Seoul National University,Seoul,Korea.
4
Department of Health Science,Ishikawa Prefectural Nursing University,Kahoku,Ishikawa,Japan.
5
Department of Public Health,University of Helsinki,Helsinki,Finland.
6
Department of Radiology and Oncotherapy,Semmelweis University,Budapest,Hungary.
7
Department of Biological Psychology,VU University Amsterdam,Amsterdam,the Netherlands.
8
Boston University,Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences,Boston,Massachusetts,USA.
9
The Australian Twin Registry,Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics,The University of Melbourne,Melbourne,Victoria,Australia.
10
Department of Health and Exercise Sciences and Colorado School of Public Health,Colorado State University,Fort Collins,Colorado,USA.
11
Psychology and Neuroscience,Duke University,Durham,North Carolina,USA.
12
Health Behaviour Research Centre,Department of Epidemiology and Public Health,Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care,University College London,London,UK.
13
State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology,Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center,Sun Yat-sen University,Guangzhou,China.
14
Bandim Health Project,INDEPTH Network,Bissau,Guinea-Bissau.
15
Department of Endocrinology,Odense University Hospital,Odense,Denmark.
16
Department of Infectious Diseases,Odense University Hospital,Odense,Denmark.
17
Department of Family Medicine,Samsung Medical Center,Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine,Seoul,South-Korea.
18
Department of Family Medicine,Busan Paik Hospital,Inje University College of Medicine,Busan,Korea.
19
Department of Education,Mokpo National University,Jeonnam,South Korea.
20
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,Jerusalem,Israel.
21
Hadassah Hospital Obstetrics and Gynecology Department,Hebrew University Medical School,Jerusalem,Israel.
22
Michigan State University,East Lansing,Michigan,USA.
23
Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology,University of Murcia,Murcia,Spain.
24
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology,University of Murcia,Murcia,Spain.
25
Norwegian Institute of Public Health,Oslo,Norway.
26
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute,Royal Children's Hospital,Melbourne,Victoria,Australia.
27
Department of Noncommunicable Diseases Prevention,Qingdao Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,Qingdao,China.
28
School of Epidemiology,Public Health and Preventive Medicine,University of Ottawa,Ottawa,Ontario,Canada.
29
École de Psychologie,Université Laval,Québec,Canada.
30
Département de Psychologie,Université du Québec à Montréal,Montréal,Québec,Canada.
31
École de psychoéducation,Université de Montréal,Montréal,Québec,Canada.
32
Genetic Epidemiology Department,QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute,Brisbane,Queensland,Australia.
33
Molecular Epidemiology Department,QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute,Brisbane,Queensland,Australia.
34
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics,Karolinska Institutet,Stockholm,Sweden.
35
Department of Public Health Sciences,Karolinska Institutet,Stockholm,Sweden.
36
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit,University of Bristol,Bristol,UK.
37
King's College London,MRC Social,Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre,Institute of Psychiatry,Psychology & Neuroscience,London,UK.
38
Department of Genetics,Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology,University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU,Leioa,Spain.
39
Indiana University Bloomington,Bloomington,Indiana,USA.
40
Department of Epidemiology,School of Public Health,University of Washington,Seattle,Washington,USA.
41
Institute of Preventive Medicine,Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospitals,Copenhagen,The Capital Region,Denmark.

Abstract

We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.

KEYWORDS:

BMI; birth order; height; zygosity

PMID:
26996222
PMCID:
PMC5100672
DOI:
10.1017/thg.2016.11
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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