Dietary intake, FTO genetic variants, and adiposity: a combined analysis of over 16,000 children and adolescents

Qibin Qi, Mary K. Downer, Tuomas O. Kilpeläinen, H. Rob Taal, Sheila J. Barton, Ioanna Ntalla, Marie Standl, Vesna Boraska, Ville Huikari, Jessica C. Kiefte-de Jong, Antje Körner, Timo A. Lakka, Gaifen Liu, Jessica Magnusson, Masayuki Okuda, Olli Raitakari, Rebecca Richmond, Robert A. Scott, Mark E.S. Bailey, Kathrin ScheuermannJohn W. Holloway, Hazel Inskip, Carmen R. Isasi, Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Vincent W.V. Jaddoe, Jaana Laitinen, Virpi Lindi, Erik Melén, Yannis Pitsiladis, Niina Pitkänen, Harold Snieder, Joachim Heinrich, Nicholas J. Timpson, Tao Wang, Hinoda Yuji, Eleftheria Zeggini, George V. Dedoussis, Robert C. Kaplan, Judith Wylie-Rosett, Ruth J.F. Loos, Frank B. Hu, Lu Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The FTO gene harbors variation with the strongest effect on adiposity and obesity risk. Previous data support a role for FTO variation in influencing food intake. We conducted a combined analysis of 16,094 boys and girls aged 1-18 years from 14 studies to examine the following: 1) the association between the FTO rs9939609 variant (or a proxy) and total energy and macronutrient intake; and 2) the interaction between the FTO variant and dietary intake, and the effect on BMI. We found that the BMI-increasing allele (minor allele) of the FTO variant was associated with increased total energy intake (effect per allele = 14.3 kcal/day [95% CI 5.9, 22.7 kcal/day], P = 6.5 × 10(-4)), but not with protein, carbohydrate, or fat intake. We also found that protein intake modified the association between the FTO variant and BMI (interactive effect per allele = 0.08 SD [0.03, 0.12 SD], P for interaction = 7.2 × 10(-4)): the association between FTO genotype and BMI was much stronger in individuals with high protein intake (effect per allele = 0.10 SD [0.07, 0.13 SD], P = 8.2 × 10(-10)) than in those with low intake (effect per allele = 0.04 SD [0.01, 0.07 SD], P = 0.02). Our results suggest that the FTO variant that confers a predisposition to higher BMI is associated with higher total energy intake, and that lower dietary protein intake attenuates the association between FTO genotype and adiposity in children and adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2467-2476
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an author-created, uncopyedited electronic version of an article accepted for publication in Diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA), publisher of Diabetes, is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it by third parties. The definitive publisher-authenticated version will be available in a future issue of Diabetes in print and online at


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