JOURNAL ARTICLE

Interaction of FTO and physical activity level on adiposity in African-American and European-American adults: the ARIC study

Ellen W Demerath, Pam L Lutsey, Keri L Monda, Wen Hong Linda Kao, Jan Bressler, James S Pankow, Kari E North, Aaron R Folsom
Obesity 2011, 19 (9): 1866-72
21593801
Physical inactivity accentuates the association of variants in the FTO locus with obesity-related traits but evidence is largely lacking in non-European populations. Here we tested the hypothesis that physical activity (PA) modifies the association of the FTO single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs9939609 with adiposity traits in 2,656 African Americans (AA) (1,626 women and 1,030 men) and 9,867 European Americans (EA) (5,286 women and 4,581 men) aged 45-66 years in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Individuals in the lowest quintile of the sport activity index of the Baecke questionnaire were categorized as low PA. Baseline BMI, waist circumference (WC), and skinfold measures were dependent variables in regression models testing the additive effect of the SNP, low PA, and their interaction, adjusting for age, alcohol use, cigarette use, educational attainment, and percent European ancestry in AA adults, stratified by sex and race/ethnicity. rs9939609 was associated with adiposity in all groups other than AA women. The SNP × PA interaction was significant in AA men (P ≤ 0.002 for all traits) and EA men (P ≤ 0.04 for all traits). For each additional copy of the A (risk) allele, WC in AA men was higher in those with low PA (β(lowPA): 5.1 cm, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.6-7.5) than high PA (β(highPA): 0.7 cm, 95% CI: -0.4 to 1.9); P (interaction) = 0.002). The interaction effect was not observed in EA or AA women. FTO SNP × PA interactions on adiposity were observed for AA as well as EA men. Differences by sex require further examination.

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