The FTO gene rs9939609 obesity-risk allele and loss of control over eating

Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, Joan C. Han, Kavitha Anandalingam, Lauren B. Shomaker, Kelli M. Columbo, Laura E. Wolkoff, Merel Kozlosky, Camden Elliott, Lisa M. Ranzenhofer, Caroline A. Roza, Susan Z. Yanovski, Jack A. Yanovski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Children with rs9939609 FTO variant alleles (homozygous = AA and heterozygous = AT) are predisposed to greater adiposity than are those with 2 wild-type alleles (TT). Objective: Because FTO is highly expressed in hypothalamic regions that are important for appetite, FTO genotype may affect energy balance by influencing eating behavior. Loss of control (LOC) eating, a behavior commonly reported by overweight youth, predicts excessive weight gain in children. However, the relation between FTO genotype and LOC eating has not been previously examined. Design: Two-hundred eighty-nine youth aged 6-19 y were genotyped for rs9939609, underwent body-composition measurements, and were interviewed to determine the presence or absence of LOC eating. A subset (n = 190) participated in a lunch buffet test meal designed to model an LOC eating episode. Subjects with AA and AT genotypes were grouped together for comparison with wild-type TT subjects. Results: Subjects with at least one A allele (67.7%) had significantly greater body mass indexes, body mass index z scores (P < 0.01), and fat mass (P < 0.05). Of the AA/AT subjects, 34.7% reported LOC compared with 18.2% of the TT subjects (P =0.002). Although total energy intake at the test meal did not differ significantly by genotype (P = 0.61), AA/AT subjects consumed a greater percentage of energy from fat than did the TT subjects (P < 0.01). Conclusions: Children and adolescents with 1 or 2 FTO rs9939609 obesity-risk alleles report more frequent LOC eating episodes and select foods higher in fat at a buffet meal. Both LOC eating and more frequent selection of energy-dense, palatable foods may be mechanisms through which variant FTO alleles lead to excess body weight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1488
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume90
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

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