This cross sectional study aims to investigate the associations between ectopic lipid accumulation in liver and skeletal muscle and biochemical measures, estimates of insulin resistance, anthropometry, and blood pressure in lean and overweight/obese children.
Fasting plasma glucose, serum lipids, serum insulin, and expressions of insulin resistance, anthropometry, blood pressure, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy of liver and muscle fat were obtained in 327 Danish children and adolescents aged 8-18 years.
In 287 overweight/obese children, the prevalences of hepatic and muscular steatosis were 31% and 68%, respectively, whereas the prevalences in 40 lean children were 3% and 10%, respectively. A multiple regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, body mass index z-score (BMI SDS), and pubertal development showed that the OR of exhibiting dyslipidemia was 4.2 (95%CI: [1.8; 10.2], p = 0.0009) when hepatic steatosis was present. Comparing the simultaneous presence of hepatic and muscular steatosis with no presence of steatosis, the OR of exhibiting dyslipidemia was 5.8 (95%CI: [2.0; 18.6], p = 0.002). No significant associations between muscle fat and dyslipidemia, impaired fasting glucose, or blood pressure were observed. Liver and muscle fat, adjusted for age, sex, BMI SDS, and pubertal development, associated to BMI SDS and glycosylated hemoglobin, while only liver fat associated to visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue and intramyocellular lipid associated inversely to high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Hepatic steatosis is associated with dyslipidemia and liver and muscle fat depositions are linked to obesity-related metabolic dysfunctions, especially glycosylated hemoglobin, in children and adolescents, which suggest an increased cardiovascular disease risk.
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