Background and aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate the nutritional status of children with type 1 diabetes and to search for possible influences of changes in body composition on aspects of diabetes.
Methods: A group of 96 diabetic subjects (41 males and 55 females) were studied, aged between 3 and 19 years old. The following parameters were examined: weight, stature, 5 skin folds, 7 circumferences, bioelectric impedance, arterial pressure, cholesterolemia, triglyceridemia, insulin dose, HbA1c and duration of disease.
Results: Obesity and overweight were present in 34.5% of the sample, but obesity was only observed in females (25.5%). There was also a high percentage of underweight subjects (11.5% of the entire sample). The mean values of weight BMI, 5 skin folds, 4 circumferences, FM (calculated using fold measurement and BIA) and AFA were higher in females, whereas mean values of waist/hip ratio and waist/thigh ratio and FFM (in % of body weight) were higher in males. A close correlation was also found between the 4 weight classes (underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese) and the majority of marker parameters for adiposity (5 folds, 4 circumferences, BIA, FM calculated using BIA, fold measurement and AFA). Of the other parameters examined (mean duration of disease, HbA1c assay, daily insulin dose, total cholesterolemia, triglycerididemia, arterial pressure), only the daily insulin dose showed higher values in females in 3 weight classes (underweight, normal weight and obese). Following a comparison with the control population (2469 subjects), higher mean values were found in the latter compared to diabetic subjects, but only in relation to 3 skin folds (tricipital, subscapular and suprailiac) and one circumference (forearm).
Conclusions: The study shows a high frequency of overweight and obesity in children with type 1 diabetes, comparable to that in the healthy population. The finding of a higher frequency of obesity in diabetic females might be explained by their advanced puberal status, given that almost all the obese diabetic females were aged between 10 and 19 years old. The study confirms the validity of a number of anthropometric measurements (BMI, folds, circumference) and BIA in the evaluation of nutritional status in terms of body composition.