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Assessment of Nutritional Status and Serum Leptin in Children With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Aurangzeb, Brekhna*; Leach, Steven T; Lemberg, Daniel A; Day, Andrew S

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: May 2011 - Volume 52 - Issue 5 - p 536–541
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3181f87a95
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Objectives: Children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) commonly have altered nutrition and growth. Measurement of serum leptin may enhance other modalities to assess the nutritional state of children with IBD. The aim of the present study was to define the nutritional status of children with newly diagnosed IBD by measuring anthropometry and serum leptin levels.

Patients and Methods: Twenty-eight children newly diagnosed with IBD and 56 age- and sex-matched controls were enrolled prospectively. Anthropometry (weight, height, and body mass index [BMI] expressed as z scores) and serum leptin levels were measured.

Results: The children with IBD had lower mean BMI z scores and weight-for-age percentiles than controls (P = 0.05 and P = 0.01, respectively). The mean (standard deviation) serum leptin levels of the children with IBD were 2.4 (±1.9) pg/mL, compared with 5.2 (±4.6) pg/mL for controls (P = 0.01). The BMI percentile correlated positively with leptin levels in both groups. Following adjustment for BMI percentiles, serum leptin levels were lower in children with IBD than in controls (P = 0.02). Leptin levels did not correlate with serum markers of inflammation or disease activity scores.

Conclusions: Detailed and focused nutritional assessment should be an integral part of the management of all children with IBD. Children at the time of diagnosis of IBD have significant undernutrition and have lower serum leptin levels than controls. The inflammatory state in IBD appears not to alter leptin metabolism. Further study of the effect of leptin in IBD is required.

*The Children's Hospital, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad, Pakistan

School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Department of Gastroenterology, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Received 1 May, 2010

Accepted 20 August, 2010

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Prof Andrew Day, Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch, Riccarton Avenue, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand (e-mail:

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2011 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN