Physical activity attenuates the effect of the FTO genotype on obesity traits in European adults: The Food4Me study

Carlos Celis-Morales, Cyril F M Marsaux, Katherine M Livingstone, Santiago Navas-Carretero, Rodrigo San-Cristobal, Clare B O'donovan, Hannah Forster, Clara Woolhead, Rosalind Fallaize, Anna L Macready, Silvia Kolossa, Jacqueline Hallmann, Lydia Tsirigoti, Christina P Lambrinou, George Moschonis, Magdalena Godlewska, Agnieszka Surwiłło, Keith Grimaldi, Jildau Bouwman, Yannis ManiosIwona Traczyk, Christian A Drevon, Laurence D Parnell, Hannelore Daniel, Eileen R Gibney, Lorraine Brennan, Marianne C Walsh, Mike Gibney, Julie A Lovegrove, J Alfredo Martinez, Wim H M Saris, John C Mathers, Food4Me Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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OBJECTIVE: To examine whether the effect of FTO loci on obesity-related traits could be modified by physical activity (PA) levels in European adults.

METHODS: Of 1,607 Food4Me participants randomized, 1,280 were genotyped for FTO (rs9939609) and had available PA data. PA was measured objectively using accelerometers (TracmorD, Philips), whereas anthropometric measures [BMI and waist circumference (WC)] were self-reported via the Internet.

RESULTS: FTO genotype was associated with a higher body weight [β: 1.09 kg per risk allele, (95% CI: 0.14-2.04), P = 0.024], BMI [β: 0.54 kg m(-2) , (0.23-0.83), P < 0.0001], and WC [β: 1.07 cm, (0.24-1.90), P = 0.011]. Moderate-equivalent PA attenuated the effect of FTO on BMI (P[interaction]  = 0.020). Among inactive individuals, FTO increased BMI by 1.06 kg m(-2) per allele (P = 0.024), whereas the increase in BMI was substantially attenuated among active individuals (0.16 kg m(-2) , P = 0.388). We observed similar effects for WC (P[interaction]  = 0.005): the FTO risk allele increased WC by 2.72 cm per allele among inactive individuals but by only 0.49 cm in active individuals.

CONCLUSIONS: PA attenuates the effect of FTO genotype on BMI and WC. This may have important public health implications because genetic susceptibility to obesity in the presence of FTO variants may be reduced by adopting a physically active lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-9
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Early online date27 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2016


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