Effect of Weight Loss on Puberty Onset in Overweight Children

J Pediatr. 2017 May;184:143-150.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.01.066. Epub 2017 Feb 24.


Objective: To assess the impact of weight changes on the onset of puberty in overweight children.

Study design: We evaluated the timing of puberty onset in 160 prepubertal overweight children (aged 11.2 ± 1.0 years) depending on the changes of their weight status in a 1-year lifestyle intervention. We determined body mass index (BMI), pubertal stage, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3, insulin resistance index homeostatic model assessment, and serum gonadotropins at baseline and 1 year later.

Results: Puberty onset during the 1-year follow-up was significantly (P = .014) more frequent in girls without BMI-SDS reduction (75.0%) compared with girls with BMI-SDS reduction (45.7%). The start of puberty was significantly (P = .024) more frequent in boys with BMI-SDS reduction (76.9%) compared with boys without BMI-SDS reduction (53.6%). In logistic regression analyses adjusted for baseline age and BMI-SDS, BMI-SDS reduction was associated with a decreased likelihood for puberty onset in girls (OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.07-0.85) and an increased likelihood in boys (OR 3.77; 95% CI 1.34-10.52). Central onset of puberty was confirmed by an increase of LH concentration and LH/follicle-stimulating hormone ratio in both boys and girls. Homeostatic model assessment, IGF-1, and IGF-1/insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 ratio as marker for free IGF-1 at baseline or their changes were not associated with the onset of puberty.

Conclusions: BMI-SDS reduction in overweight children was associated with earlier gonadotropin-dependent onset of puberty in boys and later onset of puberty in girls, suggesting earlier puberty in obese girls and later puberty in obese boys. We found no evidence that insulin resistance or IGF-1 have an impact on the start of puberty in obese children.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00435734.

Keywords: boys; girls; obesity; puberty onset; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / blood
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Puberty* / blood
  • Weight Loss*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00435734