European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 170, Issue 4, pp 483–492

Metabolic syndrome, adipokines and ghrelin in overweight and obese schoolchildren: results of a 1-year lifestyle intervention programme

  • Carla Pedrosa
  • Bruno M. P. M. Oliveira
  • Isabel Albuquerque
  • Carlos Simões-Pereira
  • Maria Daniel Vaz-de-Almeida
  • Flora Correia
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a lifestyle intervention programme (nutrition and exercise counselling) on metabolic syndrome (MS) components, adipokines (leptin, adiponectin) and ghrelin levels in overweight children. A total of 61 overweight children aged 7–9 years (≥85th body mass index (BMI) percentile; 27 boys/34 girls) were randomly assigned and completed a 1-year individual (IT) or group-based treatment (GT). Anthropometric and biochemical parameters were assessed at baseline, at 6 months and at 1 year. Twenty-two normal weight children (<85th BMI percentile; 7–9 years old; 13 boys/nine girls) were also evaluated at baseline. Insulin resistance (IR) was determined by the homeostasis model assessment of IR (HOMA-IR). Overweight children presented significantly higher blood pressure, triglycerides, apolipoprotein B, insulin, HOMA-IR, leptin, C-reactive protein and homocysteine levels, while apolipoprotein A-I was significantly lower. At baseline, MS was present in ten overweight children, of which only five maintained it at 1 year. Leptin and ghrelin levels were associated with IR and MS components. MS was predicted by apolipoprotein A-I, insulin and pre-puberty. The lifestyle intervention led to a significant improvement in standard deviation score of BMI, waist circumference/height ratio and lipid profile. Changes in insulin, HOMA-IR, leptin and adiponectin were not significant. Ghrelin behaved differently between IT and GT. The GT intervention seems to be more successful, with a decrease in BMI Z-score and an improvement of metabolic parameters. In conclusion, overweight children have multiple risk factors associated with MS. A lifestyle intervention programme seems to be an effective mean for reducing obesity and MS components and improving adipokines concentrations.


Childhood obesity Metabolic syndrome Leptin Adiponectin Ghrelin Lifestyle intervention 



Body mass index


Blood pressure


Centers of Disease Control


C-reactive protein


Cardiovascular diseases


Group-based treatment


High-density lipoprotein


Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance


Individual treatment


Metabolic syndrome


Standard deviation




Waist circumference


Standard deviation score of body mass index

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla Pedrosa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bruno M. P. M. Oliveira
    • 1
  • Isabel Albuquerque
    • 2
  • Carlos Simões-Pereira
    • 2
  • Maria Daniel Vaz-de-Almeida
    • 1
  • Flora Correia
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences of University of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and NutritionHospital Infante D. Pedro, EPEAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Department of EndocrinologyHospital de S. JoãoPortoPortugal

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