Main content area

Metabolic markers in relation to nutrition and growth in healthy 4-y-old children in Sweden

Garemo, Malin, Palsdottir, Vilborg, Strandvik, Birgitta
American journal of clinical nutrition 2006 v.84 no.5 pp. 1021-1026
obesity, fat intake, preschool children, child nutrition, girls, biomarkers, child growth, human health, epidemiological studies, metabolism, blood lipids, blood glucose, risk factors, insulin, body mass index, cross-sectional studies, food intake, gender differences, educational status, boys, Sweden
BACKGROUND: The worldwide increase in overweight and obesity probably involves dietary factors, and early indicators of risk must be identified. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to analyze metabolic markers in relation to dietary intake and anthropometry in healthy 4-y-old children. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of nutritional intake was performed in 95 children by use of 7-d food records. Fasting blood samples were analyzed for glucose, insulin, and lipids. RESULTS: The study population was representative of Swedish children except that more parents than the average had a university education. The boys' mean energy intake was higher (6.6 ± 0.75 MJ) than the girls' (5.7 ± 0.79 MJ). Significant associations were found between the percentage of energy from carbohydrates and that from fat (r = -0.91) and sucrose (r = 0.59). High body mass index was associated with a low percentage of energy from fat (r = -0.32). Serum triacylglycerol, insulin, and the HOMA (homeostatic model assessment) index were higher in girls than in boys. In girls, HOMA β-cell function was significantly negatively associated with fat intake and serum fasting insulin, and HOMA insulin resistance indexes were significantly associated with the increment in z scores for height and weight from birth to age 4 y. Compared with children with fasting insulin concentrations below the group mean + SD, the children with concentrations above that value were smaller as newborns and had larger increments in growth z scores from birth to age 4 y. CONCLUSION: In healthy Swedish 4-y-olds from well-educated families, low fat intake was related to high body mass index. Upward weight and height percentile crossings were related to insulin resistance, especially in girls.