Adverse metabolic profiles in a cohort of obese Irish children

Ann Clin Biochem 2008;45:206-209
© 2008 Association for Clinical Biochemistry


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F M Finucane 1 ,
L Teong 2,
S Pittock 3,
M Fallon 3,
M Hatunic 1,
C Costigan 3,
N Murphy 3,
V E F Crowley 2 and
J J Nolan 1

1 Metabolic Research Unit, Hospital 5;
2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, St James’s Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland;
3 Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin 12, Ireland

Corresponding author: Dr Francis Finucane. Email: francis.finucane{at}

Background: The metabolic characteristics of obese Irish children are notwell defined. We prospectively examined the relationship betweenthe degree of obesity and glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivityand suspected non-alcoholic steatohepatosis (NASH) in a pilotstudy of obese Irish children.

Methods: We measured height, weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure,waist and hip circumference in 18 participants (mean age 15.5years). Fasting blood glucose, insulin, lipid profile and alanineaminotransferase (ALT) concentrations were also measured. Astandard 75 g oral glucose tolerance test was performed andinsulin sensitivity was derived from this using a mathematicalmodel – oral glucose insulin sensitivity.

Results: There were significant associations between the degree of obesity, insulin sensitivity and markers of liver steatosis. For example, when adjusted for pubertal status, there were significant associations between standardized BMI and insulin sensitivity (regression coefficient, β = –70.1, P = 0.018) and ALT (β = 20.7, P = 0.007)

Conclusion: This study suggests that the degree of obesity is associatedwith lower insulin sensitivity and possible NASH in obese Irishchildren.

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