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Keywords:

  • beta-cell function;
  • BMI ;
  • C-peptide;
  • obesity;
  • T1D

Objective

To examine the relationship between BMI and beta-cell function at diagnosis of autoimmune type 1 diabetes (T1D) in a large group of ethnically diverse children.

Methods

Cross-sectional analysis of 524 children (60.8% White, 19.5% Hispanic, 14.5% African-American, 5.2% other non-Hispanic; mean age = 9.8 yr [SD = 2.5]) with newly diagnosed autoimmune T1D.

Results

As much as 22.2% of children were overweight or obese. Median random serum C-peptide was 0.40 ng/mL (25th–75th percentiles = 0.3–0.8), with median glycemia of 366 mg/dL (25th–75th percentiles = 271–505). Median C-peptide was 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, and 0.85 ng/mL, respectively, in underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese children (p < 0.0001, Kruskal–Wallis). In the final model (p < 0.0001), the odds of having preserved C-peptide (≥0.6 ng/mL) were increased by 2.4-fold (95% CI = 1.2–4.9, p < 0.015) and 4.1-fold (1.9–8.5, p < 0.0001), respectively, in overweight and obese compared to lean children; 1.3-fold per each year of age; 2.5-fold in girls compared to boys; 4-fold in children who presented without, compared to with, diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA); and decreased by 21% for each point increase in HbA1c. Tanner stage, race/ethnicity, glycemia, and number of anti-islet antibodies expressed were not independently associated with preserved C-peptide. The association between BMI and C-peptide levels was significant in children with and without preserved C-peptide. Excluding patients who presented with DKA and/or using BMI obtained 5 wk after diagnosis did not alter the results.

Conclusion

Obese and overweight children compared to lean children have greater beta-cell function at the onset of autoimmune T1D. Prospective studies on the relationships among BMI, beta-cell function, and progression to clinical T1D are warranted.