ESPE Abstracts (2019) 92 P2-107

Childhood Obesity and Iron Metabolism

Bebiana Sousa1, Júlia Galhardo2,3


1Paediatrics Department, Centro-Materno-Infantil do Norte, CHUP, Porto, Portugal. 2Paediatrics Endocrinology Unit, Centro-Materno-Infantil do Norte, CHUP, Porto, Portugal. 3Paediatrics Endocrinology and Diabetology Unit, Hospital de Dona Estefânia – CHULC, Lisbon, Portugal


Introduction: Hypoferraemia is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide and a leading cause of potential developmental disorders in children. Obesity seems to be associated with this condition, but it is still unclear if it is caused either by depleted iron stores, diminished availability, or both.

Aim: To analyse the relationships between childhood obesity, iron metabolism and inflammation.

Methods: A six-month cross-sectional study was conducted on a convenience sample of otherwise healthy, obese children and adolescents referred to two tertiary level paediatric obesity clinics. Evaluated variables: body mass index (BMI), iron intake (7-day diet records before blood sample), serum iron, transferrin receptor, ferritin and high sensitivity C-reactive protein. Data were analysed using covariance and multiple linear regression models with a significance level: P<0.05.

Results: Of 272 patients (51% female, 92% Caucasian) 37% were overweight and 21% were obese. Characteristics linked to the overweight and obese group (p 0.05) were: higher heme iron consumption, lower non-heme iron and vitamin C ingestion; lower serum iron, iron deficiency (higher transferrin receptor) and inflammation-induced iron sequestration (higher ferritin and C-reactive protein). There were no differences in total daily iron intake or other dietary factors important to its absorption between groups. High transferrin receptor and iron sequestration contributed independently as predictors of low serum iron. On the other hand, neither total dietary iron intake nor BMI was an independent predictor factor.

Discussion: As previously demonstrated in adult studies, in children the hypoferremia of obesity occurs both by true iron deficiency and by inflammatory-mediated functional iron deficiency.

Keywords: Iron, Inflammation, Obesity, Paediatrics

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