Youth stress and depression effect early markers for Type 2 diabetes: LOOK longitudinal study


  • L. Olive
  • D. Byrne
  • R. Telford
  • R. Telford


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether children experiencing stress and depressive symptoms were at greater risk for current and future impairment in glucose homeostasis and increased adiposity, both risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. Methods: In this longitudinal cohort study, participants were 791 healthy, initially grade 2 children (7-8 years; 394 girls), selected from the general community. Psychosocial stress was assessed using the Children’s Stress Questionnaire, whilst depressive symptoms were assessed using the Children’s Depression Inventory. Fasting blood samples for serum insulin and plasma glucose were collected to calculate the homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Other measurements were height, weight, percent body fat (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), physical activity (pedometers), and pubertal maturation (Tanner score). Results: Boys who reported more symptoms of depression had higher insulin resistance, irrespective of adiposity (p = .016); and longitudinally, we found a trend for boys who developed more depressive symptoms to develop higher insulin resistance (p = .073). These findings did not extend to girls. Furthermore, boys and girls with higher depressive symptoms had higher percent body fat (p = .011, .020 respectively); and longitudinally, boys whose depressive symptoms increased became fatter (p = .046). Conclusions: Our data provide evidence that early symptoms of depression increase insulin resistance, independent of adiposity. Our evidence that early symptoms of depression may lead to overweight and obesity provides further reason to suggest that early attention to children with depression, even in pre-clinical stages, may reduce risk of chronic disease in later life.





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