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Physical Activity Reduces Link Between FTO and Obesity

Minor allele of rs9939609 increases the odds of obesity less in physically active adults

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The association of the FTO variant rs9939606 with obesity is attenuated in physically active compared to inactive adults, according to a meta-analysis published online Nov. 1 in PLoS Medicine.

Tuomas O. Kilpelainen, Ph.D., from the Institute of Metabolic Science in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated whether physical activity (PA) attenuates the association of FTO with obesity risk, using data on the FTO variant rs9939609, from 45 studies including 218,166 adults and nine studies including 19,268 children and adolescents. PA was characterized dichotomously (inactive versus active) with 25 percent of adults and 13 percent of children classified as inactive. After adjusting for age and gender, interaction analyses were carried out within each study, including the FTO×PA interaction term as an additive model. The interaction terms were pooled using random effects meta-analysis.

The investigators found that the minor allele of rs9939609 increased the odds of obesity by 1.23-fold/allele in adults, but PA attenuated this effect. In the physically active group, the minor allele of rs9939609 increased the odds of obesity less than in the inactive group (odds ratio 1.22/allele and 1.30/allele, respectively). This interaction was not seen in children and adolescents.

"We have established that PA attenuates the association of the FTO gene with adult body mass index and obesity by approximately 30 percent," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the health care industry.

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