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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Aug;15(8):2135-44.

Fatness, fitness, and insulin sensitivity among 7- to 9-year-old children.

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  • 1Department of Health and Human Perofrmance, Iowa State University, 255 Forker, Ames, IA 50011, USA. jce@iastate.edu



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among fatness and aerobic fitness on indices of insulin resistance and sensitivity in children.


A total of 375 children (193 girls and 182 boys) 7 to 9 years of age were categorized by weight as normal-weight, overweight, or obese and by aerobic fitness based on a submaximal physical working capacity test (PWC). Fasting blood glucose (GLU) and insulin (INS) were used to calculate various indices of insulin sensitivity (GLU/INS), the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA), and the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI). Surrogate measures of pancreatic beta cell function included the insulinogenic index (INS/GLU) and the HOMA estimate of pancreatic beta-cell function (HOMA %B).


Insulin sensitivity and secretion variables were significantly different between the normal-weight children and the overweight and obese subjects. Fasting insulin (FI), HOMA, QUICKI, and INS/GLU were significantly different between the overweight and obese subjects. Likewise, the high fitness group possessed a better insulin sensitivity profile. In general, the normal-weight-high fit group possessed the best insulin sensitivity profile and the obese-unfit group possessed the worst insulin sensitivity profile. Several significant differences existed among the six fat-fit groups. Of particular note are the differences within BMI groups by fitness level and the comparison of values between the normal-weight-unfit subjects and the overweight and obese subjects with high fitness.


The results indicate that aerobic fitness attenuates the difference in insulin sensitivity within BMI categories, thus emphasizing the role of fitness even among overweight and obese children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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