An FTO Gene Variant Moderates the Association between Parental Restriction and Child BMI

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Plos One


Geisel School of Medicine


Objective This study aimed to explore whether a common variant in the FTO gene moderates the relationship between parental restriction and child BMI. Methods This study reports on baseline data from 178 parent-child (ages 9-10 years) dyads. Parents completed the Child Feeding Questionnaire and reported on socio-demographic characteristics. Each child's height, weight and FTO rs9939609 genotype was assessed. Ordinary least squares regression was used to fit the child's BMI-percentile on parental restriction and the child's FTO genotype, adjusted for covariates. A likelihood ratio test was used to compare a model with and without a multiplicative interaction term between restriction and genotype. Results Most participants (93.3%) were white, non-Hispanic. Twenty-three percent of children were overweight/obese and FTO genotype was associated with weight status. Mean parental restriction was statistically higher among overweight/obese vs. normal weight children: 3.3 (SD 0.8) vs. 2.8 (SD 1.0); t-test p-value = 0.002. Parental restriction was positively associated with child BMI-percentile and BMI-z only among children with two copies of the highrisk FTO allele (p for interaction = 0.02), where each one-point increase in parental restriction was associated with a 14.7 increase in the child's BMI-percentile or a 0.56-point increase in the child's BMI z-score. Conclusion For only the children with two high-risk alleles, parental restriction was positively associated with child BMI-percentile.