Exploring non-WEIRD populations gut microbiota: the relative importance of obesity metrics on gut microbiome diversity and composition in Colombian adults


  • Ghazaleh Shoaib University of British Columbia
  • Sana Samadi
  • Jong Yoon Joo
  • Jen Wang


Previously, gut microbiome research has predominantly focused on Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD) societies, which limits the generalizability and identification of patterns across ethnicities. This study explores the link between obesity and microbiome variation in an ethnically representative group, which is compared with other global datasets. In this study, we investigated the effect of obesity on the gut microbiome using a dataset with 442 Colombian adults to provide a valuable example of diversity in research. We first analyzed the alpha and beta diversity of obesity-related and general factors. This allowed us to see which ones significantly affected gut microbiota. This revealed some individual obesity-linked predictors affected variation in composition and diversity. However, when the dataset was filtered into obese and non-obese individuals, no specific microbial community compositional differences were found. Despite this, core microbiome analysis revealed certain gut bacterial species were consistently found in obese or non-obese groups. Finally, using model selection to contextualize obesity-related metrics among other predictors, we found that some obesity metrics significantly explained diversity but not composition. This study suggests that although there may be a significant link between obesity and gut microbial variation in WEIRD populations, the patterns may be potentially different in non-WEIRD populations such as Colombian adults.


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