A recent study led by a professor at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans found obese 7 to 9-year-old children had nearly three times the liver fat and almost double the belly fat as nonobese ones.
The research led by Dr. Melinda Sothern also discovered insulin resistance was more than double and insulin sensitivity less than half respectively.
"The amount of body fat as well as its location, particularly in the liver, appears to play a critical role in disease development," Sothern noted.
The health sciences center said the study is the first to use a combination of advanced measurements in this age group.
"The substantial variation in biomarkers we observed in these young children suggests that obesity in this age group may disrupt normal metabolism, impairing glucose tolerance and increasing the risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life," Sothern added.
The findings are detailed in the journal, Obesity, online August 25, 2011.
The researchers studied 123 children, ages 7 to 9, recruited from southeast Louisiana.
Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.