Energy expenditure and insulin sensitivity evaluation in obese children affected by hepatosteatosis


  • This study was entirely supported by ‘Bambino Gesù’ Children's Hospital

Address for correspondence: Dr D Fintini, Cardiorespiratory and Sport Medicine Unit, ‘Bambino Gesù’ Children's Hospital, S. Onofrio 4 Square, 00165 Rome, Italy. E-mail:



The aim of our study was to evaluate the physical and sedentary activities and energy expenditure (EE) in a group of children affected by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), compared with normal and obese subjects, using a physical activity questionnaire (PAQ) and a SenseWear armband (SWA).


Forty NAFLD (10 females), 41 lean (NRM; 11 females) and 30 obese (OB; 10 females), age- and pubertal stage-matched, children were included.


Sedentary activity (PAQ) was similar in NAFLD and NRM but less in OB, while SWA showed that NAFLD spent less time in physical activity and more in sedentary activities compared with NRM, but not with OB. Insulin sensitivity index result is related to active EE (cal kg–1 d–1) in NAFLD, while homeostatic model assessment index result was negatively related to total EE in OB.


Regular physical activity must be encouraged in all obese children affected by NAFLD or not, and SWA might be a possible valid tool for evaluating actual EE.