We examined the relationship between moderate obesity and glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity and suspected fatty liver in children. We measured body mass index (BMI), z-score BMI, caliper skinfold thickness, waist and hip circumference in 94 participants (mean age 9.7 ±2.2 years). Fasting blood glucose, insulin, HOMA score, lipid profile and transaminases (ALT, AST) were measured. Fatty liver and skinfold thickness were evaluated by means of ultrasound. The z-score BMI was 2.01 ±0.39 (mean ± SD), and the duration of obesity was 4.3±3.03 years. A positive correlation was found between caliper and US skinfold thickness for tricipital (r= 0.33; p= 0.003) and sovrailiac skinfold (r= 0.34; p=0.003). Fatty liver was diagnosed in 64% of children and it was positively related to anthropometric measurements. The three sub-groups – group 0 (normal US liver and normal transaminases); group 1 (US fatty liver and normal transaminases); group 2 (US fatty liver and elevated transaminases) – showed a difference concerning z-score BMI, insulin and HOMA parameters (Tukey test: z score BMI group 1 vs group 0 and 2 vs group 0; serum insulin: group 2 vs group 1 and group 2 vs group 0; HOMA IR: group 2 vs group 1 and group 2 vs group 0). Moderately obese children with steatosis exhibited a clear increase of insulin and insulin resistance which represents indices of a future metabolic syndrome. In addition, it is important to perform a liver ultrasound since transaminases seems to be not adequate for the diagnosis of fatty liver.
Fatty liver, obesity, children, anthropometric measurement, ultrasound
Radiology Unit, IRCCS “S de Bellis”, Via Turi, 70013 Castellana Grotte (BA), Italy.