Background: Nowadays, childhood obesity is one of the biggest health emergencies in the developed countries. Obesity leads to multiple metabolic disorders. Thyroid function has been often described as altered in obese children. However, it is not clear whether the thyroid dysfunction is the cause or the consequence of the fat excess.
Objective and hypotheses: The aim of the current study was to examine the thyroid function and to assess the frequency of thyroid dysfunction in obese children and adolescents.
Method: TSH, T4, anti-TPO, anti-TG levels were determined in 119 obese pediatric patients as well as in a control group of 120 normal weight children (same age group).
Results: Median values of TSH and T4 levels in obese children were normal, but significantly higher compared to those of normal weight. In addition, statistically significant correlation has been noticed between thyroid hormones concentrations and BMI z-scores of obese children. Elevated TSH (>5 μIU/ml) with normal thyroxin level and negative antithyroid antibodies were detected in 5.5% of obese children but only in 0.7% of the control group, while subclinical hypothyroidism with positive antithyroid antibodies was reported in 7.2% of obese children contrary to 3.5% of control sample. Moreover, decrease of T4 levels was observed in 47.6% of obese children that had a significant weight loss (P<0.01, Wilcoxon test).
Conclusion: Thyroid hormones are increased in obese children and weight reduction seems to result in a decrease of their levels. A high prevalence of autoimmune thyroiditis is observed among the population of obese children.
10 - 12 Sep 2016
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology