Among the greatest public health concerns today is the rapid rise in obesity in the pediatric population, which now exceeds 18% in children (6-11 y) and 17% in adolescents (12-19 y), while obesity among young adults (20-39 y) approaches 30%. Though much has been learned regarding the regulation of body weight and the development of adiposity, the prevalence of obesity continues to rise, demonstrating that even today the factors that predict healthy weight maintenance remain poorly understood. In fact, the transition from overweight adolescent to obese adult is almost inevitable, with the probability of obesity in adulthood exceeding 50% among children >13 years of age whose BMI percentiles meet or exceed the 95th percentile for age and gender. But what if we could deter the expected transition from overweight adolescent to obese adult and intervene on a young person at a critical time when he/she is beginning to feel empowered by independence? This is the essence of the Training Interventions and Genetics of Exercise Response (TIGER) Study. The TIGER Study began in 2003 with the goal of identifying genetic factors that influence physiologic response to exercise training, while introducing sedentary college age individuals to regular exercise. Subjects in the TIGER Study currently underwent 30 weeks (2 semesters) of exercise training, 3 days per week for 40 minutes at 65-85% of age-predicted maximum heart rate. More than 80% of subjects lost weight or maintained their weight within 2 kg, and only 18% of subjects gained more than 2 kg. We have identified preliminary associations between gene variation and exercise dropout in the first phase of the study, and in phase 2 of the TIGER study, we will build on these observations. We will focus on three primary areas of investigation: 1) formal evaluation of the TIGER Study intervention protocol to achieve long-term change in the participants;2) investigation of gene expression patterns in skeletal muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue as a strategy for identifying genes related to exercise response;and 3) investigation of the association between genetic variation and exercise adherence. Subjects will undergo 35 weeks of exercise training based on the established TIGER protocol, and subjects will be re-contacted 6, 12, and 24 months following completion of the study protocol and questioned regarding current exercise habits and body weight. In addition, genetic analysis of candidate genes related to exercise behavior and neural signaling will be undertaken in order to identify genetic factors that may influence exercise adherence. Finally, patterns of gene expression in subcutaneous adipose, skeletal muscle, and peripheral leukocytes will be analyzed at baseline and following exercise training in order to identify factors that influence physiologic change consequent to exercise training. Results from this study are designed to enlighten our current understanding of how and why individuals respond and/or persist in exercise, with the ultimate goal of formulating better and more efficacious interventions for obesity.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity established in adolescence strongly predicts obesity for the remainder of adult life, and the consequences are potentially devastating, characterized by a lifelong burden of co-morbid conditions and depression. This study will provide an exposure to physical activity that is designed to teach and empower sedentary college age individuals to become physically active by evaluating whether such exposure can result in lasting changes in exercise behavior and body composition. The study will also provide a better understanding of the genetic factors that influence persistence in an exercise program and that influence whole body response to exercise training.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Kidney, Nutrition, Obesity and Diabetes (KNOD)
Program Officer
Karp, Robert W
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Texas Austin
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Pickens, C Austin; Vazquez, Ana I; Jones, A Daniel et al. (2017) Obesity, adipokines, and C-peptide are associated with distinct plasma phospholipid profiles in adult males, an untargeted lipidomic approach. Sci Rep 7:6335
González-Reymúndez, Agustín; de Los Campos, Gustavo; Gutiérrez, Lucía et al. (2017) Prediction of years of life after diagnosis of breast cancer using omics and omic-by-treatment interactions. Eur J Hum Genet 25:538-544
Reynolds, Richard J; Vazquez, Ana I; Srinivasasainagendra, Vinodh et al. (2016) Serum urate gene associations with incident gout, measured in the Framingham Heart Study, are modified by renal disease and not by body mass index. Rheumatol Int 36:263-70
Bray, Molly S; Loos, Ruth J F; McCaffery, Jeanne M et al. (2016) NIH working group report-using genomic information to guide weight management: From universal to precision treatment. Obesity (Silver Spring) 24:14-22
Vazquez, Ana I; Veturi, Yogasudha; Behring, Michael et al. (2016) Increased Proportion of Variance Explained and Prediction Accuracy of Survival of Breast Cancer Patients with Use of Whole-Genome Multiomic Profiles. Genetics 203:1425-38
Vazquez, Ana I; Klimentidis, Yann C; Dhurandhar, Emily J et al. (2015) Assessment of whole-genome regression for type II diabetes. PLoS One 10:e0123818
Ferragina, A; de los Campos, G; Vazquez, A I et al. (2015) Bayesian regression models outperform partial least squares methods for predicting milk components and technological properties using infrared spectral data. J Dairy Sci 98:8133-51
Lebrón-Aldea, Dayanara; Dhurandhar, Emily J; Pérez-Rodríguez, Paulino et al. (2015) Integrated genomic and BMI analysis for type 2 diabetes risk assessment. Front Genet 6:75
Miller, Fred L; O'Connor, Daniel P; Herring, Matthew P et al. (2014) Exercise dose, exercise adherence, and associated health outcomes in the TIGER study. Med Sci Sports Exerc 46:69-75
Dishman, Rod K; Jackson, Andrew S; Bray, Molly S (2014) Self-regulation of exercise behavior in the TIGER study. Ann Behav Med 48:80-91

Showing the most recent 10 out of 24 publications