Weight loss improves insulin sensitivity in obese teenagers



Participating in a weight loss program to reduce body mass index (BMI) by at least 8% yields improvement in insulin sensitivity for adolescents at high risk for type 2 diabetes.

In a trial including 113 obese adolescents aged 13 to 17 years, investigators evaluated the relationship between weight loss and insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and metabolic syndrome (MS). They assessed changes in fasting insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, and whole body insulin sensitivity index (WBISI), as well as BMI and criteria for the presence of MS. All participants took part in a family-based lifestyle modification program.

The teenagers followed a nutritional, calorie-restricted diet or used prepackaged foods and met weekly for group counseling. Their parents also met weekly in a separate group and were asked to support their children’s behavioral changes and to model healthful behavior for them.

At 4 months, all measures of insulin sensitivity were found to have improved. The adolescents’ initial mean BMI decreased by 8% or more, leading to statistically significant improvement in WBISI (P=.03). A trend toward improvement in MS was also observed.

Abrams P, Levitt Katz LE, Moore RH, et al. Threshold for improvement in insulin sensitivity with adolescent weight loss. J Pediatr. 2013. Epub ahead of print.

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