Genetic factors may interact with lifestyle factors to modify obesity risk. FTO and PPARG2 are relevant obesogenes. Our aim was to explore the effect of Pro12Ala (rs1801282) of PPARG2 and rs9939609 of FTO on obesity risk and to examine their interaction with lifestyle factors in an elderly population. Subjects (n = 978; aged 69 ± 6) were recruited from the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project. DNA was obtained from saliva, and lifestyle and dietary data were collected by validated self-reported questionnaires. Genotyping was assessed by RT-PCR plus allele discrimination. Subjects carrying the Ala allele of PPARG2 gene had a significantly increased obesity risk compared to non-carrier (Pro12Pro) subjects (OR, 1.66; 95 % CI, 1.01-2.74; p = 0.045). Greater obesity risk was also found in inactive or high carbohydrate intake subjects with the Ala12 allele of PPARG2 gene. Interestingly, subjects carrying the Ala allele of the PPARG2 gene and with a high CHO (>246 g/day) intake had an increased obesity risk compared to Pro12Pro subjects (OR, 2.67; 95 % CI, 1.3-5.46; p = 0.007; p for [CHO × PPARG2] interaction = 0.046). Moreover, in subjects with a high CHO intake, the co-presence of the Ala allele of PPARG2 gene and one minor A allele (rs9939609) of FTO gene did increase obesity risk (OR, 3.26; 95 % CI, 1.19-8.89; p = 0.021) when compared to non-carrier (Pro12Pro/TT) subjects. In conclusion, it appears that lifestyle factors may act as effect modifiers for obesity risk linked to Ala12 allele of the PPARG2 gene and the minor A allele of FTO gene in an elderly population.