Prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jul;21(7):631-40. doi: 10.1515/JPEM.2008.21.7.631.


Background: Information about the prevalence of obesity in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1) is inconsistent and limited. The burden of the concurrent problems of obesity and DM1 can have notable medical, psychological, and social implications for both patients and their families.

Aims: To determine prevalences of overweight and obesity in children with DM1 compared to a control population.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we compared the prevalence of overweight/obesity in 390 children with DM1 (males 54%) and 565 controls (CONT; males 60%) aged 6 to 16 years. Overweight and obesity were defined as body mass indices between the 85th and 95th percentiles, and greater than the 95th percentile for age, respectively.

Results: Overall, 29.5% DM1 and 18.1% CONT (p < 0.001) were either obese or overweight. The prevalence of obesity alone did not differ (DM1 5.4% vs CONT 8.2%), but a greater rate of overweight was seen in the DM1 group (DM 24.1% vs CONT 10.0%, p < 0.001). Rate's of overweight were higher in the DM1 than CONT across all age groups and in both genders (males: DM1 20.1% vs CONT 8.9%, p < 0.001; females: DM1 28.7% vs CONT 11.5%, p < 0.001). Only females showed an increase in overall overweight/obesity rate (DM1 34.8% vs CONT 16.4%, p < 0.001) and this was most evident in older girls.

Conclusions: Children with DM1 are more overweight, but not more obese, than their nondiabetic counterparts. Additional research is warranted to evaluate the characteristics of DM1 and its management that may influence weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / complications*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Characteristics