A timely diagnosis of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) is desirable in obesity. The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), the gold standard to diagnose this condition, may not be realistically performed in all patients due to discomfort, labor, and cost. The aim of this study was to assess whether one or more biochemical indexes measured in fasting conditions could be used to identify obese children at risk of IGT. A cohort of 563 white obese children and adolescents (M/F: 315/248; aged 4-17 years) was recruited and underwent anthropometric evaluation and OGTT. Anthropometric parameters, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), fasting serum insulin (FSI), and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA(IR)) were tested in pursuit of a possible threshold to be used as a predictor of IGT. Thirty-seven children (6.9%) had IGT and one child (0.1%) had type 2 diabetes (T2D). FPG, FSI, and HOMA(IR) were all significantly higher in children with IGT than in children without IGT. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses run for gender and puberty-adjusted FPG, FSI, and HOMA(IR) were all significant: area under the curve (95% confidence interval) equaled 0.68 (0.59-0.76), 0.66 (0.56-0.76), and 0.68 (0.59-0.78), respectively. The three parameters did not show significantly different sensitivity/specificity in the pooled population or in the gender/puberty subgroups. Thresholds varied among gender/puberty subgroups for FSI and HOMA(IR), but not for FPG, which showed a fixed threshold of 86 mg/dl. A gender/puberty independent cutoff of FPG may be considered a screening tool to narrow clinical indication to OGTT in obese white children and adolescents
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