Children in Lower Socio-Economic Backgrounds at High Risk for Type-2 Diabetes

Lower socioeconomic children are at high risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes. The mechanism that contribute to worsening insulin resistance in the growing child are unknown, but mounting evidence suggests a role for adipose derived cytokines and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a), interlukin-6 (IL-6), leptin and resistin. Also of interest has been the recently discovered adiponectin, a peptide hormone derived from adipose (i.e., fat) tissue, which is one of several new hormones involved in obesity and is related to susceptibility to non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes).

A new study offers the first findings regarding adiponectin levels in children and their correlations to measures such as body composition and fitness and other obesity related risk factors. The authors of the study, "Relationships Among Adiponectin and Other Adipose Cytokines, Body Composition, and Fasting Insulin In Lower Socioeconomic Middle School Children," are Dan Nemet, MD, Dan M. Cooper, MD and Ping Wang, from the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA, and Tohru Funahashi, Yuji Matsuzawa, and Sachiyo Tanaka, all from the Department of Internal Medicine and Molecular Science, Osaka, University, Osaka, Japan. They will report their findings in detail during the American Physiological Societys (APS) annual meeting, part of the "Experimental Biology 2002 conference. More than l2,000 attendees will attend the conference which is being held April 20-24, 2002 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA.


The mechanisms that might contribute to worsening insulin resistance in the growing child are not known, but mounting evidence suggests a role for adipose derived cytokines like tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and the recently discovered adiponectin. The study called for the testing of the hypotheses that these mediators are related to body composition and might serve as early markers for alterations in glucose regulation.

The researchers required fasting and early morning blood measurements of the previously named cytokines in 31 healthy, predominately lower socioeconomic, Hispanic and Asian-American children (17 boys, 14 girls, mean age 13.00.1 years of age). Values were correlated with fasting insulin and with the following measures of body composition: "BMI" as age determined percentile; "DEXA" as percent body fat, and skinfolds as percent body fat.

Continue Reading Below ↓↓


  • Adiponectin was inversely correlated with each estimate of fat.
  • In contrast, TNF-a was positively correlated with BMI and Skinfolds.
  • IL-6 was positively correlated with BMI and DEXA.
  • Adiponectin was also inversely correlated with fasting insulin but no correlations were found for insulin and either TNF-a or IL-6.


  • Adipose associated cytokines are correlated with fat mass in children. This novel data on adiponectin, from a human study, suggests that the development of type 2 diabetes in children may involve dysregulation of adiponectin secretion.

The American Physiological Society (APS) is one of the worlds most prestigious organizations for physiological scientists. These researchers specialize in understanding the processes and functions underlying human health and disease. Founded in 1887 the Bethesda, MD-based Society has more than 10,000 members and publishes 3,800 articles in its 14 peer-reviewed journals each year.

Source: American Physiological Society