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Nutr Res. 2014 Jun;34(6):486-90. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.06.003. Epub 2014 Jun 11.

Insulin resistance is not associated with thermogenic effect of a high-fat meal in obese children.

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School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA.
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA. Electronic address:


In adults, insulin resistance may decrease the thermogenic effect of food, contributing to weight gain. We aimed to determine the effect of insulin resistance on energy expenditure in children with long-standing obesity. We hypothesized that thermogenic effect of food would decrease with increasing insulin resistance. Energy expenditure was measured using whole room indirect calorimetry in obese children 7 to 18 years old. Participants were fed a high-fat meal with energy content equal to 35% of measured resting energy expenditure. Thermogenic effect of food was measured for 180 minutes posttest meal and expressed as a percent of calories consumed. Body composition was assessed using whole-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Fasting glucose, insulin, and hemoglobin A1C were measured. Complete data were available for 25 children (median age, 12.1 years; 52% male). As expected, a significant decrease in resting energy expenditure was observed with increasing Tanner stage (P = .02 by Kruskal-Wallis test). Insulin sensitivity, as determined by homeostasis model assessment index equation, did not significantly affect resting energy expenditure (P = .3) or thermogenic effect of food (P = .7) after adjustment for Tanner stage. In conclusion, our study did not find an association between insulin resistance and energy expenditure in obese children.


Calorimetry; Energy metabolism; Insulin resistance; Obesity; Pediatrics

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