FTO genotype and weight loss in diet and lifestyle interventions: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Lingwei Xiang, Hongyu Wu, An Pan, Bhakti Patel, Guangda Xiang, Lu Qi, Robert C. Kaplan, Frank Hu, Judith Wylie-Rosett, Qibin Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Background: Studies have suggested that the fat mass and obesity- associated (FTO) genotype is associated with individual variability in weight loss in response to diet/lifestyle interventions, but results are inconsistent. Objective: We aimed to provide a summary of the literature evaluating the relation between the FTO genotype and weight loss in response to diet/lifestyle interventions. Design: A search of English-language articles in the PubMed and Embase databases (through 30 April 2015) was performed. Eligible studies were diet/lifestyle weight-loss intervention studies conducted in adults that reported changes in body weight or body mass index (BMI) by the FTO variant rs9939609 (or its proxy). Differences in weight loss between FTO genotypes across studies were pooled with the use of fixed-effect models. Results: A meta-analysis of 10 studies (comprising 6951 participants) that reported the results of additive genetic models showed that individuals with the FTO TA genotype and AA genotype (those with the obesity-predisposing A allele) had 0.18-kg (95% CI: 20.09-, 0.45-kg; P = 0.19; NS) and 0.44-kg (95% CI: 0.09-, 0.79-kg; P = 0.015) greater weight loss, respectively, than those with the TT genotype. A metaanalysis of 14 studies (comprising 7700 participants) that reported the results of dominant genetic models indicated a 0.20-kg (20.43-, 0.04-kg) greater weight loss in the TA/AA genotype than in the TT genotype (P = 0.10). In addition, differences in weight loss between the AA genotype and TT genotype were significant in studies with a diet intervention only, adjustment for baseline BMI or body weight, and several other subgroups. However, the relatively small number of studies limited these stratified analyses, and there was no statistically significant difference between subgroups. Conclusions: This meta-analysis suggests that individuals carrying the homozygous FTO obesity-predisposing allele may lose more weight through diet/lifestyle interventions than noncarriers. Our data provide evidence for genetic variability in response to diet/lifestyle interventions on weight loss, although clinical applications of these findings need further investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1162-1170
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Diet
  • FTO genotype
  • Lifestyle intervention
  • Meta-analysis
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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