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1.  Prevalence and correlates of frailty among community-dwelling older men and women: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study 
Age and ageing  2009;39(2):197-203.
Background
frailty, a multi-dimensional geriatric syndrome, confers a high risk for falls, disability, hospitalisation and mortality. The prevalence and correlates of frailty in the UK are unknown.
Methods
frailty, defined by Fried, was examined among community-dwelling young-old (64-74 years) men (n = 320) and women (n = 318) who participated in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study, UK.
Results
the prevalence of frailty was 8.5% among women and 4.1% among men (P = 0.02). Among men, older age (P = 0.009), younger age of leaving education (P = 0.05), not owning/mortgaging one’s home (odds ratio [OR] for frailty 3.45 [95% confidence interval {CI} 1.01-11.81], P = 0.05, in comparison with owner/mortgage occupiers) and reduced car availability (OR for frailty 3.57 per unit decrease in number of cars available [95% CI 1.32, 10.0], P = 0.01) were associated with increased odds of frailty. Among women, not owning/mortgaging one’s home (P = 0.02) was associated with frailty. With the exception of car availability among men (P = 0.03), all associations were non-significant (P > 0.05) after adjustment for co-morbidity.
Conclusions
frailty is not uncommon even among community-dwelling young-old men and women in the UK. There are social inequalities in frailty which appear to be mediated by co-morbidity.
doi:10.1093/ageing/afp204
PMCID: PMC3546311  PMID: 20007127
frailty; prevalence; older people; social inequalities; co-morbidity; elderly
2.  Dietary patterns change little from before to during pregnancy1 
The Journal of nutrition  2009;139(10):1956-1963.
Principal component analysis is a popular method of dietary patterns analysis, but our understanding of its use to describe changes in dietary patterns over time is limited. We assessed the diets of 12,572 non-pregnant women aged 20-34 from Southampton, UK using a food frequency questionnaire, of whom 2,270 and 2,649 became pregnant and provided complete dietary data in early and late pregnancy respectively. Intakes of white bread, breakfast cereals, cakes and biscuits, processed meat, crisps, fruit and fruit juices, sweet spreads, confectionery, hot chocolate drinks, puddings, cream, milk, cheese, full-fat spread, cooking fats and salad oils, red meat and soft drinks increased in pregnancy. Intakes of rice and pasta, liver and kidney, vegetables, nuts, diet cola, tea and coffee, boiled potatoes and crackers decreased in pregnancy. Principal component analysis at each time point produced two consistent dietary patterns, labeled ‘prudent’ and ‘high-energy’. At each time point in pregnancy, and for both the prudent and high-energy patterns, we derived two dietary pattern scores for each woman: a ‘natural’ score, based on the pattern defined at that time point, and an ‘applied’ score, based on the pattern defined before pregnancy. Applied scores are preferred to natural scores to characterize changes in dietary patterns over time because the scale of measurement remains constant. Using applied scores there was a very small mean decrease in prudent diet score in pregnancy, and a very small mean increase in high-energy diet score in late pregnancy, indicating little overall change in dietary patterns in pregnancy.
doi:10.3945/jn.109.109579
PMCID: PMC3113465  PMID: 19710161
Diet; Dietary patterns; Pregnancy; Principal component analysis
3.  Do women change their health behaviours in pregnancy? Findings from the Southampton Women’s Survey 
SUMMARY
A woman’s lifestyle choices before and during pregnancy have important implications for her unborn child, but information on behaviour can be unreliable when data are collected retrospectively. In particular there are no large longitudinal datasets that include information collected prospectively before pregnancy to allow accurate description of changes in behaviour into pregnancy.
The Southampton Women’s Survey is a longitudinal study of women in Southampton, UK, characterised when they were not pregnant and again during pregnancy. The objective of the analyses presented here is to describe the degree to which women comply with diet and lifestyle recommendations before and during pregnancy, and changes between these time points.
The analyses are based on 1490 women who delivered between 1998 and 2003 and who provided information before pregnancy and at 11 and 34 weeks gestation. At each time point a trained research nurse ascertained smoking status and assessed food and drink consumption using a food frequency questionnaire. We derived the proportions of women who complied with recommendations not to smoke, to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day and to drink no more than four units of alcohol per week and 300mg of caffeine per day.
There was a notable reduction in smoking when women became pregnant; before pregnancy 27% of women smoked, whereas in early pregnancy 15% smoked. Similarly there were significant reductions in alcohol consumption and intake of caffeinated drinks; before pregnancy 54% of women drank more than 4 units of alcohol per week and 39% had estimated intakes of caffeine in drinks of more than 300mg per day, whereas comparable figures for early pregnancy were 10% and 16% respectively. However, there was little change in fruit and vegetable intake; the percentages of women who did not achieve the recommendation to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per week were 47% before pregnancy and 46% in early pregnancy. Younger women and those with fewer educational qualifications were less likely to comply with public health recommendations. 81% of women in early pregnancy complied with at least three of the recommendations. Although there is encouraging evidence of changed health behaviours in pregnancy, young women and those with few educational qualifications may particularly benefit from targeted health initiatives.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-3016.2009.01036.x
PMCID: PMC3091015  PMID: 19689495
Pregnancy; smoking; alcohol drinking; fruit and vegetables; caffeinated drinks
4.  Development of a 20-item food frequency questionnaire to assess a ‘prudent’ dietary pattern amongst young women in Southampton 
Objective
To develop a short food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that can be used amongst young women in Southampton to assess compliance with a prudent dietary pattern characterised by high consumption of wholemeal bread, fruit and vegetables, and low consumption of sugar, white bread, and red and processed meat.
Methods
Diet was assessed using a 100-item interviewer-administered FFQ in 6,129 non-pregnant women aged 20-34 years. 94 of these women were re-interviewed two years later using the same FFQ. Subsequently diet was assessed in 378 women attending SureStart Children’s Centres in the Nutrition and Well-being Study using a 20-item FFQ. The 20 foods included were those that characterised the prudent dietary pattern.
Results
The 20-item prudent diet score was highly correlated with the full 100-item score (r=0.94) in the Southampton Women’s Survey. Both scores were correlated with red blood cell folate (r=0.28 for the 100-item score and r=0.25 for the 20-item score). Amongst the women re-interviewed after two years, the change in prudent diet score was correlated with change in red cell folate for both the 20-item (rS=0.31) and 100-item scores (rS=0.32). In the Nutrition and Well-being Study a strong association between the 20-item prudent diet score and educational attainment (r=0.41) was observed, similar to that seen in the Southampton Women’s Survey (r=0.47).
Conclusions
The prudent diet pattern describes a robust axis of variation in diet. A 20-item FFQ based on the foods that characterise the prudent diet pattern has clear advantages in terms of time and resources, and is a helpful tool to characterise the diets of young women in Southampton.
doi:10.1038/ejcn.2009.114
PMCID: PMC3091018  PMID: 19756032
Food frequency questionnaire; Principal component analysis
5.  Genome-wide association study identifies five loci associated with lung function 
Repapi, Emmanouela | Sayers, Ian | Wain, Louise V | Burton, Paul R | Johnson, Toby | Obeidat, Ma’en | Zhao, Jing Hua | Ramasamy, Adaikalavan | Zhai, Guangju | Vitart, Veronique | Huffman, Jennifer E | Igl, Wilmar | Albrecht, Eva | Deloukas, Panos | Henderson, John | Granell, Raquel | McArdle, Wendy L | Rudnicka, Alicja R | Barroso, Inês | Loos, Ruth J F | Wareham, Nicholas J | Mustelin, Linda | Rantanen, Taina | Surakka, Ida | Imboden, Medea | Wichmann, H Erich | Grkovic, Ivica | Jankovic, Stipan | Zgaga, Lina | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Peltonen, Leena | Gyllensten, Ulf | Johansson, Åsa | Zaboli, Ghazal | Campbell, Harry | Wild, Sarah H | Wilson, James F | Gläser, Sven | Homuth, Georg | Völzke, Henry | Mangino, Massimo | Soranzo, Nicole | Spector, Tim D | Polašek, Ozren | Rudan, Igor | Wright, Alan F | Heliövaara, Markku | Ripatti, Samuli | Pouta, Anneli | Naluai, Åsa Torinsson | Olin, Anna-Carin | Torén, Kjell | Cooper, Matthew N | James, Alan L | Palmer, Lyle J | Hingorani, Aroon D | Wannamethee, S Goya | Whincup, Peter H | Smith, George Davey | Ebrahim, Shah | McKeever, Tricia M | Pavord, Ian D | MacLeod, Andrew K | Morris, Andrew D | Porteous, David J | Cooper, Cyrus | Dennison, Elaine | Shaheen, Seif | Karrasch, Stefan | Schnabel, Eva | Schulz, Holger | Grallert, Harald | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Delplanque, Jérôme | Froguel, Philippe | Blakey, John D | Britton, John R | Morris, Richard W | Holloway, John W | Lawlor, Debbie A | Hui, Jennie | Nyberg, Fredrik | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jackson, Cathy | Kähönen, Mika | Kaprio, Jaakko | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M | Koch, Beate | Hayward, Caroline | Evans, David M | Elliott, Paul | Strachan, David P | Hall, Ian P | Tobin, Martin D
Nature genetics  2009;42(1):36-44.
Pulmonary function measures are heritable traits that predict morbidity and mortality and define chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We tested genome-wide association with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and the ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FVC) in the SpiroMeta consortium (n = 20,288 individuals of European ancestry). We conducted a meta-analysis of top signals with data from direct genotyping (n ≤ 32,184 additional individuals) and in silico summary association data from the CHARGE Consortium (n = 21,209) and the Health 2000 survey (n ≤ 883). We confirmed the reported locus at 4q31 and identified associations with FEV1 or FEV1/FVC and common variants at five additional loci: 2q35 in TNS1 (P = 1.11 × 10−12), 4q24 in GSTCD (2.18 × 10−23), 5q33 in HTR4 (P = 4.29 × 10−9), 6p21 in AGER (P = 3.07 × 10−15) and 15q23 in THSD4 (P = 7.24 × 10−15). mRNA analyses showed expression of TNS1, GSTCD, AGER, HTR4 and THSD4 in human lung tissue. These associations offer mechanistic insight into pulmonary function regulation and indicate potential targets for interventions to alleviate respiratory disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.501
PMCID: PMC2862965  PMID: 20010834
6.  Validation of a maternal questionnaire on correlates of physical activity in preschool children 
Background
Valid measures of physical activity correlates in preschool children are lacking. This study aimed to assess the validity, factor structure and internal consistency of a maternal questionnaire on potential correlates of four-year-old children's physical activity.
Methods
The questionnaire was designed to measure the following constructs: child personal factors; parental support and self-efficacy for providing support; parental rules and restrictions; maternal attitudes and perceptions; maternal behaviour; barriers to physical activity; and the home and local environments. Two separate studies were conducted. Study I included 24 mothers of four-year-old children who completed the questionnaire then participated in a telephone interview covering similar items to the questionnaire. To assess validity, the agreement between interview and questionnaire responses was assessed using Cohen's kappa and percentage agreement. Study II involved 398 mothers of four-year-old children participating in the Southampton Women's Survey. In this study, principal components analysis was used to explore the factor structure of the questionnaire to aid future analyses with these data. The internal consistency of the factors identified was assessed using Cronbach's alpha.
Results
Kappa scores showed 30% of items to have moderate agreement or above, 23% to have fair agreement and 47% to have slight or poor agreement. However, 89% of items had fair agreement as assessed by percentage agreement (≥ 66%). Limited variation in responses to variables is likely to have contributed to some of the low kappa values. Six questions had a low kappa and low percentage agreement (defined as poor validity); these included questions from the child personal factors, maternal self-efficacy, rules and restrictions, and local environment domains. The principal components analysis identified eleven factors and found several variables to stand alone. Eight of the composite factors identified had acceptable internal consistency (α ≥ 0.60) and three fell just short of achieving this (0.60 > α > 0.50).
Conclusion
Overall, this maternal questionnaire had reasonable validity and internal consistency for assessing potential correlates of physical activity in young children. With minor revision, this could be a useful tool for future research in this area. This, in turn, will aid the development of interventions to promote physical activity in this age group.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-81
PMCID: PMC2791748  PMID: 19954524
7.  Correction: Genome-Wide Association Scan Meta-Analysis Identifies Three Loci Influencing Adiposity and Fat Distribution 
Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Heid, Iris M. | Randall, Joshua C. | Lamina, Claudia | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Qi, Lu | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Willer, Cristen J. | Herrera, Blanca M. | Jackson, Anne U. | Lim, Noha | Scheet, Paul | Soranzo, Nicole | Amin, Najaf | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | Chambers, John C. | Drong, Alexander | Luan, Jian'an | Lyon, Helen N. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Sanna, Serena | Timpson, Nicholas J. | Zillikens, M. Carola | Zhao, Jing Hua | Almgren, Peter | Bandinelli, Stefania | Bennett, Amanda J. | Bergman, Richard N. | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Bumpstead, Suzannah J. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Cherkas, Lynn | Chines, Peter | Coin, Lachlan | Cooper, Cyrus | Crawford, Gabriel | Doering, Angela | Dominiczak, Anna | Doney, Alex S. F. | Ebrahim, Shah | Elliott, Paul | Erdos, Michael R. | Estrada, Karol | Ferrucci, Luigi | Fischer, Guido | Forouhi, Nita G. | Gieger, Christian | Grallert, Harald | Groves, Christopher J. | Grundy, Scott | Guiducci, Candace | Hadley, David | Hamsten, Anders | Havulinna, Aki S. | Hofman, Albert | Holle, Rolf | Holloway, John W. | Illig, Thomas | Isomaa, Bo | Jacobs, Leonie C. | Jameson, Karen | Jousilahti, Pekka | Karpe, Fredrik | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laitinen, Jaana | Lathrop, G. Mark | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Mangino, Massimo | McArdle, Wendy L. | Meitinger, Thomas | Morken, Mario A. | Morris, Andrew P. | Munroe, Patricia | Narisu, Narisu | Nordström, Anna | Nordström, Peter | Oostra, Ben A. | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Payne, Felicity | Peden, John F. | Prokopenko, Inga | Renström, Frida | Ruokonen, Aimo | Salomaa, Veikko | Sandhu, Manjinder S. | Scott, Laura J. | Scuteri, Angelo | Silander, Kaisa | Song, Kijoung | Yuan, Xin | Stringham, Heather M. | Swift, Amy J. | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | Uda, Manuela | Vollenweider, Peter | Waeber, Gerard | Wallace, Chris | Walters, G. Bragi | Weedon, Michael N. | Witteman, Jacqueline C. M. | Zhang, Cuilin | Zhang, Weihua | Caulfield, Mark J. | Collins, Francis S. | Davey Smith, George | Day, Ian N. M. | Franks, Paul W. | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hu, Frank B. | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Kong, Augustine | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Laakso, Markku | Lakatta, Edward | Mooser, Vincent | Morris, Andrew D. | Peltonen, Leena | Samani, Nilesh J. | Spector, Timothy D. | Strachan, David P. | Tanaka, Toshiko | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uitterlinden, André G. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Watkins for the PROCARDIS consortia, Hugh | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Boehnke, Michael | Deloukas, Panos | Groop, Leif | Hunter, David J. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Schlessinger, David | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Frayling, Timothy M. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Stefansson, Kari | Mohlke, Karen L. | Barroso, Inês | McCarthy for the GIANT consortium, Mark I.
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(7):10.1371/annotation/b6e8f9f6-2496-4a40-b0e3-e1d1390c1928.
doi:10.1371/annotation/b6e8f9f6-2496-4a40-b0e3-e1d1390c1928
PMCID: PMC2722420
8.  Dietary patterns in infancy and cognitive and neuropsychological function in childhood 
Background:
Trials in developing countries suggest that improving young children's diet may benefit cognitive development. Whether dietary composition influences young children's cognition in developed countries is unclear. Although many studies have examined the relation between type of milk received in infancy and subsequent cognition, there has been no investigation of the possible effect of variations in the weaning diet.
Methods:
We studied 241 children aged 4 years, whose diet had been assessed at age 6 and 12 months. We measured IQ with the Wechsler Pre-School and Primary Scale of Intelligence, visual attention, visuomotor precision, sentence repetition and verbal fluency with the Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment (NEPSY), and visual form-constancy with the Test of Visual Perceptual Skills.
Results:
In sex-adjusted analyses, children whose diet in infancy was characterised by high consumption of fruit, vegetables and home-prepared foods (‘infant guidelines’ dietary pattern) had higher full-scale and verbal IQ and better memory performance at age 4 years. Further adjustment for maternal education, intelligence, social class, quality of the home environment and other potential confounding factors, attenuated these associations but the relations between higher ‘infant guidelines’ diet score and full-scale and verbal IQ remained significant. For a standard deviation increase in ‘infant guidelines’ diet score at 6 or 12 months full scale IQ rose by 0.18 (95% CI 0.04 to 0.31) of a standard deviation. For a standard deviation increase in ‘infant guidelines’ diet score at 6 months verbal IQ rose by 0.14 (0.01 to 0.27) of a standard deviation. There were no associations between dietary patterns in infancy and 4-year performance on the other tests.
Conclusions:
These findings suggest that dietary patterns in early life may have some effect on cognitive development. It is also possible that they reflect the influence of unmeasured confounding factors.
doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.02029.x
PMCID: PMC2698009  PMID: 19236526
9.  The SF-36: a simple, effective measure of mobility-disability for epidemiological studies 
Background
Mobility disability is a major problem in older people. Numerous scales exist for the measurement of disability but often these do not permit comparisons between study groups. The physical functioning (PF) domain of the established and widely used Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaire asks about limitations on ten mobility activities.
Objectives
To describe prevalence of mobility disability in an elderly population, investigate the validity of the SF-36 PF score as a measure of mobility disability, and to establish age and sex specific norms for the PF score.
Methods
We explored relationships between the SF-36 PF score and objectively measured physical performance variables among 349 men and 280 women, 59-72 years of age, who participated in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS). Normative data were derived from the Health Survey for England (HSE) 1996.
Results
32% of men and 46% of women had at least some limitation in PF scale items. Poor SF-36 PF scores (lowest fifth of the gender-specific distribution) were related to: lower grip strength; longer timed-up-and-go, 3m walk, and chair rises test times in men and women; and lower quadriceps peak torque in women but not men. HSE normative data showed that median PF scores declined with increasing age in men and women.
Conclusion
Our results are consistent with the SF-36 PF score being a valid measure of mobility disability in epidemiological studies. This approach might be a first step towards enabling simple comparisons of prevalence of mobility disability between different studies of older people. The SF-36 PF score could usefully complement existing detailed schemes for classification of disability and it now requires validation against them.
PMCID: PMC2654814  PMID: 19151909
epidemiology; physical functioning; disability; ageing; mobility
10.  Genome-Wide Association Scan Meta-Analysis Identifies Three Loci Influencing Adiposity and Fat Distribution 
Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Heid, Iris M. | Randall, Joshua C. | Lamina, Claudia | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Qi, Lu | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Willer, Cristen J. | Herrera, Blanca M. | Jackson, Anne U. | Lim, Noha | Scheet, Paul | Soranzo, Nicole | Amin, Najaf | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | Chambers, John C. | Drong, Alexander | Luan, Jian'an | Lyon, Helen N. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Sanna, Serena | Timpson, Nicholas J. | Zillikens, M. Carola | Zhao, Jing Hua | Almgren, Peter | Bandinelli, Stefania | Bennett, Amanda J. | Bergman, Richard N. | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Bumpstead, Suzannah J. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Cherkas, Lynn | Chines, Peter | Coin, Lachlan | Cooper, Cyrus | Crawford, Gabriel | Doering, Angela | Dominiczak, Anna | Doney, Alex S. F. | Ebrahim, Shah | Elliott, Paul | Erdos, Michael R. | Estrada, Karol | Ferrucci, Luigi | Fischer, Guido | Forouhi, Nita G. | Gieger, Christian | Grallert, Harald | Groves, Christopher J. | Grundy, Scott | Guiducci, Candace | Hadley, David | Hamsten, Anders | Havulinna, Aki S. | Hofman, Albert | Holle, Rolf | Holloway, John W. | Illig, Thomas | Isomaa, Bo | Jacobs, Leonie C. | Jameson, Karen | Jousilahti, Pekka | Karpe, Fredrik | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laitinen, Jaana | Lathrop, G. Mark | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Mangino, Massimo | McArdle, Wendy L. | Meitinger, Thomas | Morken, Mario A. | Morris, Andrew P. | Munroe, Patricia | Narisu, Narisu | Nordström, Anna | Nordström, Peter | Oostra, Ben A. | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Payne, Felicity | Peden, John F. | Prokopenko, Inga | Renström, Frida | Ruokonen, Aimo | Salomaa, Veikko | Sandhu, Manjinder S. | Scott, Laura J. | Scuteri, Angelo | Silander, Kaisa | Song, Kijoung | Yuan, Xin | Stringham, Heather M. | Swift, Amy J. | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | Uda, Manuela | Vollenweider, Peter | Waeber, Gerard | Wallace, Chris | Walters, G. Bragi | Weedon, Michael N. | Witteman, Jacqueline C. M. | Zhang, Cuilin | Zhang, Weihua | Caulfield, Mark J. | Collins, Francis S. | Davey Smith, George | Day, Ian N. M. | Franks, Paul W. | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hu, Frank B. | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Kong, Augustine | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Laakso, Markku | Lakatta, Edward | Mooser, Vincent | Morris, Andrew D. | Peltonen, Leena | Samani, Nilesh J. | Spector, Timothy D. | Strachan, David P. | Tanaka, Toshiko | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uitterlinden, André G. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Watkins for the PROCARDIS consortia, Hugh | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Boehnke, Michael | Deloukas, Panos | Groop, Leif | Hunter, David J. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Schlessinger, David | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Frayling, Timothy M. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Stefansson, Kari | Mohlke, Karen L. | Barroso, Inês | McCarthy for the GIANT consortium, Mark I.
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(6):e1000508.
To identify genetic loci influencing central obesity and fat distribution, we performed a meta-analysis of 16 genome-wide association studies (GWAS, N = 38,580) informative for adult waist circumference (WC) and waist–hip ratio (WHR). We selected 26 SNPs for follow-up, for which the evidence of association with measures of central adiposity (WC and/or WHR) was strong and disproportionate to that for overall adiposity or height. Follow-up studies in a maximum of 70,689 individuals identified two loci strongly associated with measures of central adiposity; these map near TFAP2B (WC, P = 1.9×10−11) and MSRA (WC, P = 8.9×10−9). A third locus, near LYPLAL1, was associated with WHR in women only (P = 2.6×10−8). The variants near TFAP2B appear to influence central adiposity through an effect on overall obesity/fat-mass, whereas LYPLAL1 displays a strong female-only association with fat distribution. By focusing on anthropometric measures of central obesity and fat distribution, we have identified three loci implicated in the regulation of human adiposity.
Author Summary
Here, we describe a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data from 38,580 individuals, followed by large-scale replication (in up to 70,689 individuals) designed to uncover variants influencing anthropometric measures of central obesity and fat distribution, namely waist circumference (WC) and waist–hip ratio (WHR). This work complements parallel efforts that have been successful in defining variants impacting overall adiposity and focuses on the visceral fat accumulation which has particularly strong relationships to metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Our analyses have identified two loci (TFAP2B and MSRA) associated with WC, and a further locus, near LYPLAL1, which shows gender-specific relationships with WHR (all to levels of genome-wide significance). These loci vary in the strength of their associations with overall adiposity, and LYPLAL1 in particular appears to have a specific effect on patterns of fat distribution. All in all, these three loci provide novel insights into human physiology and the development of obesity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000508
PMCID: PMC2695778  PMID: 19557161
11.  Randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of aerobic exercise in reducing metabolic risk in healthy older people: The Hertfordshire Physical Activity Trial 
Background
While there are compelling observational data confirming that individuals who exercise are healthier, the efficacy of aerobic exercise interventions to reduce metabolic risk and improve insulin sensitivity in older people has not been fully elucidated. Furthermore, while low birth weight has been shown to predict adverse health outcomes later in life, its influence on the response to aerobic exercise is unknown. Our primary objective is to assess the efficacy of a fully supervised twelve week aerobic exercise intervention in reducing clustered metabolic risk in healthy older adults. A secondary objective is to determine the influence of low birth weight on the response to exercise in this group.
Methods/Design
We aim to recruit 100 participants born between 1931–1939, from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study and randomly assign them to no intervention or to 36 fully supervised one hour sessions on a cycle ergometer, over twelve weeks. Each participant will undergo detailed anthropometric and metabolic assessment pre- and post-intervention, including muscle biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, objective measurement of physical activity and sub-maximal fitness testing.
Discussion
Given the extensive phenotypic characterization, this study will provide valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise as well as the efficacy, feasibility and safety of such interventions in this age group.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN60986572
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-9-15
PMCID: PMC2708167  PMID: 19545359
12.  Women’s compliance with nutrition and lifestyle recommendations before pregnancy: general population cohort study 
Objective To examine the extent to which women planning a pregnancy comply with recommendations for nutrition and lifestyle.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Southampton, United Kingdom.
Participants 12 445 non-pregnant women aged 20-34 recruited to the Southampton Women’s Survey through general practices, 238 of whom became pregnant within three months of being interviewed.
Main outcome measures Folic acid supplement intake, alcohol consumption, smoking, diet, and physical activity before pregnancy.
Results The 238 women who became pregnant within three months of the interview were only marginally more likely to comply with recommendations for those planning a pregnancy than those who did not become pregnant in this period. Among those who became pregnant, 2.9% (95% confidence interval 1.2% to 6.0%) were taking 400 μg or more of folic acid supplements a day and drinking four or fewer units of alcohol a week, compared with 0.66% (0.52% to 0.82%) of those who did not become pregnant. 74% of those who became pregnant were non-smokers compared with 69% of those who did not become pregnant (P=0.08). Women in both groups were equally likely to consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day (53% in each group, P=1.0), but only 57% of those who became pregnant had taken any strenuous exercise in the past three months compared with 64% in those who did not become pregnant (P=0.03).
Conclusion Only a small proportion of women planning a pregnancy follow the recommendations for nutrition and lifestyle. Greater publicity for the recommendations is needed, but as many pregnancies are unplanned, improved nutrition and lifestyles of women of childbearing age is also required.
doi:10.1136/bmj.b481
PMCID: PMC2643441  PMID: 19213768

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