Obesity-Related Hormones in Low-Income Preschool-Age Children: Implications for School Readiness

Authors

  • Alison L. Miller,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan
    2. Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan
    • Address correspondence to Alison L. Miller, 1415 Washington Heights, SPH 1, Room 3718, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029; e-mail: alimill@umich.edu

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  • Carey N. Lumeng,

    1. Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan
    2. Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan
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  • Jennifer Delproposto,

    1. Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan
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  • Brian Florek,

    1. Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan
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  • Kristin Wendorf,

    1. Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan
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  • Julie C. Lumeng

    1. Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan
    2. Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan
    3. Human Nutrition Program, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan
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ABSTRACT

Mechanisms underlying socioeconomic disparities in school readiness and health outcomes, particularly obesity, among preschool-aged children are complex and poorly understood. Obesity can induce changes in proteins in the circulation that contribute to the negative impact of obesity on health; such changes may relate to cognitive and emotion regulation skills important for school readiness. We investigated obesity-related hormones, body mass index (BMI), and school readiness in a pilot study of low-income preschoolers attending Head Start (participating in a larger parent study). We found that the adipokine leptin was related to preschoolers' BMI z-score, the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), and pro-inflammatory cytokines typically associated with early life stress; and that some of these obesity-related biomarkers were in turn related to emotion regulation. Future work should evaluate how obesity may affect multiple domains of development, and consider modeling common physiological pathways related to stress, health, and school readiness.

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