Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. Childhood overweight/adiposity at age 5 is associated with a specific profile of circulating metabolites, with a relationship that is more pronounced in girls than boys.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Over 340 million children and adolescents are overweight or obese worldwide, with increasing prevalence over time. Childhood obesity is a known risk factor for the development of cardiometabolic disease. Researchers aimed to assess serum metabolites associated with overweight/ obesity in childhood. They used data from the Canadian-based CHILD Cohort Study. Metabolite profiling was conducted for children at age 5 (n = 900) via multisegment injection-capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry. 45% of participants were female and 55% were male. They assessed the relationship between circulating metabolites and childhood overweight/ adiposity, defined as WHO-standardized body mass index ≥ 85th percentile and waist circumference ≥ 90th percentile, respectively. Data were assessed via multivariable linear and logistic regression, with sex-stratified analysis. The authors adjusted for the multiple confounding variables: nightly sleep hours, screen time, social disadvantage index, maternal education, breastfeeding status at 1 year, diet quality score, and physical activity level. They found that each standard deviation (SD) increment of glutamic acid, threonine, and oxoproline was associated with a 20-28% increased risk of overweight/adiposity, whereas the glutamine/glutamic acid ratio was associated with a 20% decreased risk. These associations were statistically significant in females, but not in males. This study determined that childhood overweight/ adiposity at age 5 is associated with a specific metabolic profile, which is more pronounced in girls than boys. Future research may address whether this metabolic profile is predictive of overweight/ obesity in adulthood. It also may be useful for future investigations of the metabolic pathways that contribute to childhood overweight/ obesity.

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