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Glucose metabolism in children and adolescents: Population-based reference values and comparisons to children and adolescents enrolled in obesity treatment

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BACKGROUND: Alterations in glucose metabolism that lead to the development of metabolic and cardiovascular disease may begin already in childhood.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to generate pediatric age and sex-specific reference values for fasting concentrations of glucose, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), insulin, C-peptide, and homeostasis model assessment: insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in Danish/North-European white children and adolescents from a population-based cohort and to compare values from children and adolescents with overweight/obesity with this reference.

METHODS: The population- and obesity clinic-based cohorts consisted of 2451 and 1935 children and adolescents between 6 and 18 years of age. Anthropometric measurements and blood samples were obtained and percentile curves were calculated.

RESULTS: In the population-based cohort, glucose, insulin, and HOMA-IR values increased before the expected onset of puberty (P < .05). Thereafter, all variables decreased in girls (P < .05) and HbA1c decreased in boys (P < .05). Concentrations of all measured markers of glucose metabolism were higher in the obesity clinic-based cohort than the population-based cohort (both sexes P < .001). Specifically, insulin and HOMA-IR continued to increase to 18 years in the clinic-based cohort, particularly among boys.

CONCLUSIONS: Fasting glucose, insulin, and HOMA-IR change during childhood, making pediatric reference values essential for timely identification of derangements in glucose metabolism. Children and adolescents with obesity exhibit increased concentrations of these biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Diabetes
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)538-548
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

ID: 57149545