SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

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.