Profiles of obese children presenting for metabolic evaluation

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. Sep-Oct 2001;14(8):1145-50. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2001-0812.


Background: Obesity, increasingly prevalent among children, causes major morbidities, among which is earlier onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM).

Methods: We reviewed charts of children aged 3 to 18 years (n=106). The population was divided into four age groups. Anthropomorphic measurements, family history, diet and exercise patterns, and selected endocrine/metabolic measurements were recorded, and descriptive statistics were calculated.

Results: Obesity in one or both parents correlated with a higher percent of ideal body weight (IBW) (p = 0.01). Fifty-eight percent of the children had first- or second-degree relatives with a history of type 2 DM; 9% had relatives with type 1 DM. Fifty-four percent had dieted and exercised regularly. Mean onset of obesity was at 4.2 +/- 0.9 years. Mean cholesterol was elevated at 176 mg/dl. Average BMI was 26.6 in the youngest children (Group 1; normal mean for this age approximately 15.5), and increased to 37.8 in adolescents (Group 4; normal mean approximately 21). Elevated TSH was present in <1% of the population. The number of patients with an abnormal insulin: glucose ratio (>1:4) increased with age.

Conclusions: Childhood obesity in children is correlated with family histories of obesity and DM. Thyroid dysfunction is seldom found, although mild hypercholesterolemia and insulin insensitivity are prevalent, especially among adolescents.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyrotropin / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Thyrotropin
  • Cholesterol