European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 181–187 | Cite as

Development of insulin resistance and its relation to diet in the obese child

  • Ramón Cañete
  • Mercedes Gil-Campos
  • Concepción M. Aguilera
  • Angel Gil


The incidence rate of obesity in youth has continued to increase worldwide and about 30% of obese children display insulin resistance (IR) and other metabolic abnormalities. The present study reviews the mechanisms for development of IR in the obese child and possible links between IR and dietary factors in childhood and adolescence. Although increased concentrations of plasma free fatty acids (FFA) and their counter part at intracellular level, long-chain acyl-coenzyme A (LC acyl-CoA), have been related to the early onset of IR in childhood obesity, a new endocrine paradigm states that adipose tissue secretes a wide variety of hormones and cytokines that regulate lipid energy metabolism. These hormonal changes precede any changes in metabolites such as FFA and glucose and appear to be associated with early IR in childhood. Excessive caloric intake increases IR in children; opposite, substantial reduction of overweight achieved by a hypocaloric diet decreases it. Elevated consumption of animal protein, particularly in early life, as well as diets rich in saturated, trans, and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and diets with a high carbohydrate to fat ratio, besides a high glycaemic and low-fiber diet also appear to exacerbate adiposity and IR.


adipocytokines childhood obesity diet free fatty acids insulin resistance 



This work was supported by “Plan Nacional de I+D+I”, Instituto de Salud Carlos III-Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria, Project n° PI 051968 from the Ministerio de Salud y Consumo, Spain.


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramón Cañete
    • 1
  • Mercedes Gil-Campos
    • 1
  • Concepción M. Aguilera
    • 2
  • Angel Gil
    • 2
  1. 1.Unit of Paediatric EndocrinologyReina Sofia University HospitalCordobaSpain
  2. 2.Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II, School of PharmacyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain

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