Prevalence of and factors associated with thiamin deficiency in obese Thai children

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2019;28(1):116-121. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.201903_28(1).0016.


Background and objectives: Obesity is a state that results from excessive energy consumption, and obese people often have micronutrient deficiencies. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of and factors associated with thiamin deficiency in obese Thai children.

Methods and study design: This cross-sectional study was conducted at Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University during 2014 to 2017. Children aged 7-15 years old with exogenous obesity were recruited. Symptoms and signs of thiamin deficiency were evaluated. Erythrocyte transketolase activity was measured by thiamin pyrophosphate effect (TPPE), with ≥15% indicating thiamin deficiency. Dietary consumption from a 5-day food diary and food frequency questionnaire was calculated by INMUCAL software. Other medical complications of obesity were also evaluated.

Results: One hundred and twenty-four subjects (81 males and 43 females) were enrolled, with a mean age of 10.9 years. Fifty-two subjects had abnormal TPPE for an overall prevalence of thiamin deficiency of 42%. Manifestations of thiamin deficiency included numbness, weakness, and calf muscle cramping. TPPE test results were correlated with at least one symptom or a sign of thiamin deficiency (p<0.01). The thiamin-deficient group tended to have higher proportion of morbid obesity and larger waist circumferences than thiamin-sufficient group. The thiamindeficient group tended to consume less thiamin in relation to energy intake than the thiamin-sufficient group (p=0.057). Items of foods consumed were statistically indistinguishable between groups.

Conclusions: The results of this study revealed a 42% prevalence of thiamin deficiency among obese Thai children, and most of those cases were subclinical.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Thiamine Deficiency / complications*
  • Thiamine Deficiency / epidemiology*