NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Obese children usually remain obese in adulthood. However, high insulin resistance in childhood appears to reduce the risk of adult obesity in overweight girls, but not in overweight boys, Italian researchers report.
Dr. Claudio Maffeis and colleagues, from the University of Verona, studied 215 obese white boys and girls, with a mean age of 10.5 years. At a mean follow-up of 14 years, the researchers re-examined 103 of these subjects. Thirty-seven were obese, 33 were overweight, and 33 were of normal weight, the research team found.
Among the girls, multiple regression analysis, which was adjusted for age, puberty, and parents' body mass index (BMI), showed that childhood relative BMI and insulin resistance were independent predictors of BMI in adulthood (p < 0.02).
Also, among the girls, multivariate logistic regression revealed that at baseline, a relatively high BMI and a low insulin resistance index were predictive of adult obesity (p = 0.04). Insulin resistance remained predictive of adult BMI regardless of age, Tanner stage, or parents' BMI, Dr. Maffeis' group notes.
However, for boys, age at recruitment was the only predictor of BMI in adulthood, according to the report in the January issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
"The most interesting finding of this study was that the extent of insulin resistance in overweight girls, but not in boys, was an independent protective factor of obesity in adulthood," Dr. Maffeis' group concludes.