Background: The different body components may contribute to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The aim of the present study was to examine the association of fat mass and fat free mass indices with markers of insulin resistance, independently of each other and giving, at the same time, gender-specific information in a wide cohort of European adolescents.
Methods: A cross-sectional study in a school setting was conducted in 925 (430 males) adolescents (14.9 ± 1.2 years). Weight, height, anthropometric, bioimpedance and blood parameters were measured. Indices for fat mass and fat free mass, and homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) were calculated. Multiple regression analyses were performed adjusting for several confounders including fat free mass and fat mass when possible.
Results: Indices of fat mass were positively associated with HOMA (all p < 0.01) after adjusting for all the confounders including fat free mass indices, in both sexes. Fat free mass indices were associated with HOMA, in both males and females, after adjusting for center, pubertal status, socioeconomic status and cardiorespiratory fitness, but the associations disappear when including fat mass indices in the adjustment´s model.
Conclusion: Fat mass indices derived from different methods are positively associated with insulin resistance independently of several confounders including fat free mass indices. In addition, the relationship of fat free mass with insulin resistance is influenced by the amount of fat mass in European adolescents. Nevertheless, future studies should focus not only on the role of fat mass, but also on other body components such as fat free mass because its role could vary depending of the level and distribution of fat mass.
Keywords: Insulin resistance. Adolescent. Body fat. Obesity..