The prevalence of obesity in the United States has reached alarming proportions with 33% of
adults over the age of 20 being overweight. Obesity is more than twice as prevalent, however,
in the Pima Indians of Arizona. Although there have been a number of advances in our
understanding of the genetics of obesity, the environmental influences on the genetic
expression of obesity requires further investigation.
In an effort to understand some of the influences on the high prevalence of obesity in the
Pima Indians, the present study was designed to investigate eating behaviors and food
preferences, most especially the preference for high fat foods, in sib-pairs of Pima Indians
who have been previously genotyped in our genomic scan for loci linked to diabetes/obesity.
Most specifically, we will utilize several questionnaires and methods of assessing eating
behavior and the preference for high fat foods to create a food intake phenotype. In
addition, we will study Caucasians so that comparisons can be made between these two groups.
We will make these evaluations by assessing eating behavior, food preferences including usual
fat intake and preferences for high fat foods, body image perceptions, and energy
expenditure. It is hoped that the data gathered from this study will elucidate some of the
risk factors for the development of obesity among the Pima Indians.