Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Epidemiology and Biostatistics



First Advisor

Angela D. Liese


The objective of our study was to assess the combined effect of fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene, dietary intake, and physical activity on the measures of adiposity. Specifically, we explored the interaction between FTO polymorphisms and selected foods and nutrients (saturated fat, dietary fiber, red and processed meat, and high-fiber bread and cereal), and the interaction between FTO polymorphisms and physical activity on body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue in the adult multiethnic Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) and the IRAS Family Study cohorts. We observed significant statistical interactions between FTO polymorphisms and red and processed meat on waist circumference in Hispanics. No evidence for gene-diet interaction was obtained in whites. We also demonstrated the interaction between FTO polymorphisms and vigorous physical activity on subcutaneous fat in African Americans and on visceral fat in Hispanics. Study results suggest the involvement of FTO in regulation of body fat mass by modification of effects of energy intake and expenditure. Our results are in concordance with previous findings demonstrating the involvement of FTO in regulation of appetite and fat tissue lipolysis. Practical implications may include FTO genotype-dependent differential responsiveness of participants to lifestyle interventions aimed at weight loss and type 2 diabetes prevention.