British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Body size at birth modifies the effect of fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) rs9939609 polymorphism on adiposity in adolescents: the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study

Idoia Labayena1a2a3 c1, Jonatan R. Ruiza3a4, Francisco B. Ortegaa3a5, Frédéric Gottranda6a7, Inge Huybrechtsa8, Jean Dallongevillea9, Kurt Widhalma10, Marika Ferraria11, Annete Buykena12, Mathilde Kerstinga12, George Moschonisa13, Dominique Turcka6a7, Sonia Gómeza14, Michael Sjostroma4, Aline Meirhaeghea9 and Luis A. Morenoa2a15

a1 Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of the Basque Country, Paseo de la Universidad, 7, 01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

a2 GENUD (Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development) Research Group, Zaragoza, Spain

a3 Unit for Preventive Nutrition, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition at NOVUM, Karolinska Institutet, SE-17177 Huddinge, Sweden

a4 Department of Physical Activity and Sport, School of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

a5 Department of Medical Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Granada, 18014 Granada, Spain

a6 INSERM U995, IFR 114, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lille 2, Lille, France

a7 Department of Pediatrics, Jeanne de Flandre Children's University Hospital, Lille, France

a8 Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

a9 INSERM U744, Institut Pasteur de Lille, UDSL, Lille F-59000, France

a10 Division of Nutrition and Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

a11 INRAN (National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition), Rome, Italy

a12 Research Institute of Child Nutrition Dortmund, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Dortmund, Germany

a13 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harakopio University, Athens, Greece

a14 Immunonutrition Research Group, Department of Metabolism and Nutrition, Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Madrid, Spain

a15 University School of Health Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain

Abstract

The present study was intended to examine whether ponderal index (PI) at birth modifies the effect of the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) rs9939609 polymorphism on adiposity in European adolescents. A total of 628 adolescents aged 14·4 (se 1·3) years (56·8 % female) were recruited. PI was calculated from parental reports of birth weight and length (kg/m3), and the BMI (kg/m2), body fat percentage and fat mass index (FMI, kg/m2) were calculated. The rs9939609 polymorphism was genotyped and physical activity assessed by accelerometry. Sex, duration of pregnancy, pubertal status, centre and physical activity were used as confounders in all the analyses. The minor A allele of the FTO rs9939609 was significantly associated with higher BMI, body fat percentage and FMI (all P < 0·05) but not with PI. Significant interactions between PI and the rs9939609 polymorphism in terms of body fat percentage (P = 0·002) and FMI (P = 0·017) were detected. However, this polymorphism was only significantly associated with higher BMI, body fat percentage and FMI (all P < 0·05) in adolescents in the lower PI tertile. Indeed, both body fat percentage and FMI were higher in those adolescents in the lower PI tertile carrying the A allele of the FTO rs9939609 polymorphism than in those with the TT genotype (25·0 (se 0·8) v. 22·1 (se 1·0) %, adjusted P = 0·030 and 5·6 (se 0·3) v. 4·6 (se 0·4) kg/m2, P = 0·031, respectively). Our findings suggest that those adolescents born with lower PI could be more vulnerable to the influence of the A risk allele of the FTO polymorphism on total adiposity content.

(Received April 14 2011)

(Revised July 15 2011)

(Accepted July 15 2011)

(Online publication September 15 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Dr Idoia Labayen, fax +34 945130756, email idoia.labayen@ehu.es

Footnotes

Abbreviations: FMI, fat mass index; FTO, fat mass and obesity associated; HELENA, Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence; PI, ponderal index

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