Pediatric obesity and insulin resistance: chronic disease risk and implications for treatment and prevention beyond body weight modification

Annu Rev Nutr. 2005;25:435-68. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.25.050304.092625.


The study of childhood obesity has continued to grow exponentially in the past decade. This has been driven in part by the increasing prevalence of this problem and the widespread potential effects of increased obesity in childhood on lifelong chronic disease risk. The focus of this review is on recent findings regarding the link between obesity and disease risk during childhood and adolescence. We describe recent reports relating to type 2 diabetes in youth (2), prediabetes (69, 166), metabolic syndrome (33, 35), polycystic ovarian syndrome (77), and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (58, 146), and the mediating role of insulin resistance in these conditions. In addition, we review the implications of this research for the design of more effective treatment and prevention strategies that focus more on the improvement of obesity-related metabolic abnormalities and chronic disease risk reduction than on the conventional energy balance approach that focuses on weight management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Body Composition
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Pediatrics*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Obesity Agents