• gypsy;
  • health;
  • anthropometric;
  • BMI;
  • genotyping


The rs9939609 SNP located in the first intron of the fat mass and obesity associated gene (FTO) has been found to be associated with common obesity mainly in populations of European descent. The Roma/Gypsy population as an ethnic minority of Asian Indian origin is well known for its adverse health status with a high prevalence of obesity. The main aim of this study was to examine the contribution of the rs9939609 FTO polymorphism to the high prevalence of obesity in the Roma/Gypsy population. Following a number of anthropometric measurements, the FTO rs9939609 polymorphism was genotyped in 312 Roma/Gypsy individuals. We observed significant differences in body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio between different genotypes (P = 0.003, P = 0.012, and P = 0.03, respectively). The waist circumference in the subjects with AA genotype was about 7.1 cm larger than in those with TT genotypes (P = 0.005). However, the strongest association of minor allele A of the rs9939609 FTO polymorphism was found with BMI (odds ratio, 1.55; 95% confidence interval, 1.129–2.128; P = 0.007), even after adjusting for age, sex, and smoking status. This study provides the first report of allele and genotype frequencies for the rs9939609 polymorphism and also the first evidence of the association of the FTO variant with obesity in the Roma/Gypsy population. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.