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Lower Mood and its Association with Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes

Low mood in healthy children is associated with poorer metabolic health independently of adiposity…

Mood comprises two main traits – positive and negative affect, both associated with depression and anxiety. Studies in children have linked depression with obesity, but the association with metabolic health is unclear.

Researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth, UK, studied 208 healthy children (115 boys) enrolled in the longitudinal EarlyBird Diabetes Study, and reviewed at 7 and 16 yr. Participants completed the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule – Child Form (PANAS-C) at 16yr to assess positive and negative affect, together representing mood. Measures at 7 and 16 yr: body mass index (BMI), fat (%; dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), physical activity (accelerometer), metabolic risk z-score comprising homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), triglycerides, total cholesterol/high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio and blood pressure. Pubertal development was determined by age at peak height velocity.

Positive affect was higher in boys than girls, (50 vs. 46, p = 0.001), negative affect higher in girls than boys (26 vs. 22, p < 0.001). Those with lower mood were fatter (r = -0.24, p < 0.001), had higher HOMA-IR (r = -0.12, p = 0.05), higher cholesterol:HDL ratio (r = -0.14, p = 0.02), were less active (r = 0.20, p = 0.003) and had earlier pubertal development (r = 0.19, p = 0.004). Inverse associations between mood and metabolic risk z-score and change in metabolic risk z-score 7-16yr (β = -0.26, p = 0.006, and -0.40, p = 0.004, respectively) were independent of adiposity, physical activity and puberty and sex.

The researchers concluded, “Low mood in healthy children is associated with poorer metabolic health independently of adiposity. These findings may have implications for the physical and mental health of contemporary youngsters, given their increasing obesity and cardiometabolic risk.”

Jeffery A, Hyland M, Hosking J, and Wilkin T. Mood and its association with metabolic health in adolescents: a longitudinal study, earlybird 65. Pediatric Diabetes 2014; 15: 599-605.