Objective: Obesity, which is frequently associated with diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, is primarily the result of a net excess of caloric intake over energy expenditure. Human obesity is highly heritable, but the specific genes mediating susceptibility in non-syndromic obesity remain unclear. We tested candidate genes in pathways related to food intake and energy expenditure for association with body mass index (BMI). Methods: We reanalyzed 355 common genetic variants of 30 candidate genes in seven molecular pathways related to obesity in 1982 unrelated European Americans from the New York Cancer Project. Data were analyzed by using a Bayesian hierarchical generalized linear model. The BMIs were log-transformed and then adjusted for covariates, including age, age 2, gender and diabetes status. The single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were modeled as additive effects. Results: With the stipulated adjustments, nine SNPs in eight genes were significantly associated with BMI: ghrelin (GHRL; rs35683), agouti-related peptide (AGRP; rs5030980), carboxypeptidase E (CPE; rs1946816 and rs4481204), glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R; rs2268641), serotonin receptors (HTR2A; rs912127), neuropeptide Y receptor (NPY5R;Y5R1c52), suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3; rs4969170) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3; rs4796793). We also found a gender-by-SNP interaction (rs1745837 in HTR2A), which indicated that variants in the gene HTR2A had a stronger association with BMI in males. In addition, NPY1R was detected as having a significant gene effect even though none of the SNPs in this gene was significant. Conclusion: Variations in genes AGRP, CPE, GHRL, GLP1R, HTR2A, NPY1R, NPY5R, SOCS3 and STAT3 showed modest associations with BMI in European Americans. The pathways in which these genes participate regulate energy intake, and thus these associations are mechanistically plausible in this context. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.