Longitudinal Study of Depressive Symptoms and Progression of Insulin Resistance in Youth at Risk for Adult Obesity

  1. Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PHD1
  1. 1Section on Growth and Obesity, Program in Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  2. 2Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
  3. 3Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  4. 4Division of Nutrition Research Coordination, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  1. Corresponding author: Jack A. Yanovski, jy15i{at}


OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to determine whether having childhood depressive symptoms is a risk factor that prospectively predicts impairment in glucose homeostasis.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A non–treatment-seeking sample of 115 children (aged 5–13 years), oversampled for being at risk for adult obesity, was assessed at baseline and again ~6 years later. Children self-reported depressive symptoms using the Children’s Depression Inventory at baseline. Insulin resistance was assessed at baseline and follow-up with the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR).

RESULTS Children’s depressive symptoms were a significant predictor of follow-up HOMA-IR, fasting insulin, and fasting glucose in models accounting for baseline HOMA-IR, insulin, or glucose values; sex; race; baseline age; baseline BMI; change in BMI at follow-up; family history of type 2 diabetes; and time in the study (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS In this study, depressive symptomatology at baseline predicted the progression of insulin resistance during child and adolescent development independent of changes in BMI. Research is needed to determine whether early intervention to decrease elevated depressive symptoms in youth ameliorates later development of insulin resistance and lessens the risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • Received June 15, 2011.
  • Accepted August 5, 2011.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 34 no. 11 2458-2463
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