Gene variations in the fat mass- and obesity-associated gene (FTO) have shown controversial associations with obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in several populations. We explored the association of FTO gene with obesity, MetS, and insulin-related parameters separately in men and women. Two SNPs in the FTO, gene rs9939609 and rs1421085, were genotyped by the Taqman System in 1967 adults (mean age of the whole group 50.1 +/- 12.0; 48.4 % male). A random sample of the Turkish Adult Risk Factor cohort was cross-sectionally analyzed. Both SNPs exhibited strong linkage disequilibrium (r(2) = 0.85) and minor alleles were associated with risk of obesity in women and of MetS in men. Carriers of the rs1421085 C-allele exhibited higher body mass index (BMI) in each gender. Adjusted fasting insulin and HOMA index were significantly higher in C-allele carriers in men alone. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated significantly increased likelihood for obesity in female C-risk allele carriers (OR 1.61; 95 % CI 1.19-2.18), after adjustment for age, smoking status, alcohol usage, physical activity grade and presence of diabetes mellitus. Male C-allele carriers were at increased risk for MetS (OR 1.44; 95 % CI 1.07-1.95), adjusted for age, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and physical activity. Further adjustment for BMI attenuated the MetS risk, indicating interaction between C-allele, gender and BMI. The FTO gene in Turkish adults contributes independently to obesity in women and-by interacting with BMI-to MetS and insulin resistance in men.