Dietary Energy Intake Is Associated With Type 2 Diabetes Risk Markers In Children

  1. Peter H Whincup, FRCP1
  1. 1 Division of Population Health Sciences and Education, St George’s, University of London, London, UK
  2. 2 Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge, UK
  1. Corresponding Author: Angela Donin, E-mail: adonin{at}


Objective Energy intake, energy density and nutrient intakes are implicated in type 2 diabetes risk in adults, but little is known about their influence on emerging type 2 diabetes risk in childhood. We examined these associations in a multi-ethnic population of children.

Research Design and Methods Cross-sectional study of 2017 children predominantly of white European, South Asian and black African-Caribbean origin aged 9-10 years who had a detailed 24 hour dietary recall, measurements of body composition and provided a fasting blood sample for measurements of plasma glucose, HbA1c and serum insulin; HOMA insulin resistance was also derived.

Results Energy intake was positively associated with insulin resistance. After the removal of 176 participants with implausible energy intakes (unlikely to be representative of habitual intake), energy intake was more strongly associated with insulin resistance, and was also associated with glucose and fat mass index. Energy density was also positively associated with insulin resistance and fat mass index. However, in mutually adjusted analyses, the associations for energy intake remained while those for energy density became non-significant. Individual nutrient intakes showed no associations with type 2 diabetes risk markers.

Conclusions Higher total energy intake was strongly associated with high levels of insulin resistance and may help to explain emerging type 2 diabetes risk in childhood. Studies are needed to establish whether reducing energy intake produces sustained favourable changes in insulin resistance and circulating glucose levels.

  • Received May 29, 2013.
  • Accepted August 3, 2013.

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