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Arch Dis Child. 2002 Oct;87(4):320-3.

Thyroid hormones before and after weight loss in obesity.

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  • 1Vestische Kinderklinik, University of Witten-Herdecke, Datteln, Germany.



Little is known about changes in thyroid function in obese children. An influence of leptin on thyroid hormone synthesis has been proposed.


To examine thyroid function and leptin concentrations in obese children.


Triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and leptin were measured in 118 obese children (aged 4.5-16 years); thyroid function was also determined in 107 healthy children of normal weight. T3, T4, and TSH were analysed in 55 obese children who had achieved weight reduction and in 13 obese children who had not achieved weight reduction after one year based on normal energy diet.


TSH, T3, and T4 were significantly higher in obese children compared to those of normal weight. Twelve per cent of the obese children had TSH, 15% had T3, and 11% had T4 concentrations above the twofold standard deviation of normal weight children. The degree of overweight correlated with T3, T4, and TSH. Thyroid hormones did not correlate significantly with leptin. A reduction in overweight showed a significant decrease in T3, T4, and leptin serum concentrations, but there was no significant change in TSH.


Peripheral thyroid hormones (T3, T4) and TSH are moderately increased in obese children; weight reduction leads to a long term decrease in the peripheral thyroid hormones but not in TSH. There is no necessity to treat the increased serum TSH.

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