The rs9939609 polymorphism of the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene has been widely associated with childhood obesity in several European cohorts. This association appears to be dependent on dietary macronutrients. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate whether dietary fatty acid intake distribution could interact with this FTO genetic variation and obesity in a Spanish case–control study of children and adolescents. A total of 354 Spanish children and adolescents aged 6–18 years (49 % males) were genotyped for the rs9939609 variant of the FTO gene. Anthropometric parameters were taken and energy intake was measured. We observed an interaction between the consumption of SFA (percentage of total energy) and PUFA:SFA ratio and obesity risk linked to the rs9939609 SNP of the FTO gene. In the study population of the present study, the risk allele carriers consuming more than 12·6 % SFA (of total energy) had an increased obesity risk compared with TT carriers. In a similar way, A allele carriers with an intake ratio lower than 0·43 PUFA:SFA presented a higher obesity risk than TT subjects. In summary, the present study reports for the first time the influence of dietary fatty acid distribution on the effect of the rs9939609 polymorphism of the FTO gene on children and adolescents' obesity risk.