Objective: Obesity is associated with hyperinsulinemia and increased level of C-reactive protein in older children and adults, but little is known about these relationships in very young children. We examined these relationships in healthy 2- to 3-year-old children.
Research methods and procedures: Analyses were performed on data from 491 healthy 2- to 3-year-old Hispanic children enrolled in a dietary study conducted in New York City, 1992 to 1995.
Results: Body mass index (BMI), ponderal index, and sum of four skinfolds were highly correlated (r > 0.75) in both boys and girls. Fasting insulin and glucose levels were only modestly correlated (r = 0.37 for boys and r = 0.28 for girls; p < 0.001 for both), but essentially all of the variability in a calculated index of insulin resistance was attributable to variability in fasting insulin level. The correlations of BMI with fasting insulin level were r = 0.16 (p < 0.05) in boys and r = 0.14 (p < 0.05) in girls. In separate multivariate regression analyses adjusting for age and sex, BMI and ponderal index were associated with fasting plasma insulin level (p < 0.001 for both obesity measures). In multivariate regression analyses adjusting simultaneously for age, sex, and either BMI or ponderal index, fasting insulin level, but not these obesity measures, was associated with C-reactive protein level.
Discussion: Obesity is associated with higher fasting insulin level, and fasting insulin is associated with C-reactive protein level, in healthy 2- to 3-year-old children.