AIM: To investigate whether GE is affected in children/adolescents with obesity and abnormalities of the metabolic syndrome (MetS).
METHODS: Cross-sectional study of oral GE (oGE), insulin sensitivity and secretion (calculated on 5 time-points oral glucose tolerance test) and metabolic abnormalities in 1012 patients with overweight/obesity (aged 6.0-17.9 years old). A MetS risk score was calculated on the basis of distribution of fasting glucose, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was suspected based on thresholds of alanine aminotransferases.
RESULTS: Four-hundred and eighty patients (47.73%) had low-MetS risk score, 488 medium (48.22% with 1-2 risk factors) and 41 (4.05% with ≥ 3 factors) high risk. oGE was significantly lower in subjects with obesity [3.81 (1.46) mg/dl/min- 1] than in those with overweight [4.98 (1.66) mg/dl/min- 1; p value < 0.001]. oGE was negatively correlated with BMI (ρ = - 0.79; p < 0.001) and BMI z score (ρ = - 0.56; p < 0.001) and decreased significantly among MetS risk classes (p = 0.001). The median difference of oGE from low to medium risk was estimated to be as - 4.9%, from medium to high as - 13.38% and from low to high as - 17.62%. oGE was not statistically different between NAFLD+ and NAFLD- cases.
CONCLUSIONS: In children and adolescents with obesity oGE decreases. Noteworthy, it decreases as the Met score increases. Therefore, reduced oGE may contribute to the higher risk of these individuals to develop type 2 diabetes.