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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Apr;28(4):470-5.

Plasma leptin is associated with insulin resistance independent of age, body mass index, fat mass, lipids, and pubertal development in nondiabetic adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taiwan.



The rising epidemic worldwide in overweight and obese children requires urgent attention. Leptin has been found to be associated with body weight control and possibly affects insulin sensitivity. Since insulin resistance is associated with obesity in adults and possibly in adolescents, we set out to investigate the association of plasma leptin level with various anthropometric indices, body fat mass (FM), lipids, and insulin resistance (IR) index in nondiabetic adolescents.


A cross-sectional study from three high schools in Taipei City in Taiwan.


A total of 402 nondiabetic subjects (162 boys and 240 girls; age range, 10-19 y; mean age, 15.8+/-1.9 y, and mean body mass index (BMI), 24.8+/-4.6 kg/m(2)) were recruited.


The fasting plasma leptin, plasma glucose, insulin, lipids, and anthropometric indices including height, weight, waist (WC) and hip circumferences, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were examined. Total body FM and percentage body fat (FM%) were obtained from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The homeostasis model was applied to estimate the degree of IR.


The plasma leptin levels were significantly higher in girls (17.45+/-10.13 ng/ml) than boys (8.81+/-6.71 ng/ml, P<0.001). The plasma leptin levels were positively correlated to BMI, WC, WHR, FM, FM%, and triglycerides (TG). The IR index was positively correlated to BMI, WC, WHR, FM, FM%, TG, and leptin. Using the multivariate linear regression models, we found that plasma leptin remains significantly associated with IR index even after adjusting for age, gender, BMI, FM, WC, Tanner stage, and TG.


Plasma leptin was associated with IR index independent of age, gender, BMI, FM, WC, Tanner stage, and TG. Plasma leptin levels in adolescents could be a predictor for the development of the metabolic syndrome disorders and cardiovascular diseases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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