Physiol. Res. 52: 53-60, 2003

Leptin Levels in Obese Children: Effects of Gender, Weight Reduction and Androgens


Institute of Endocrinology, Prague, 1First Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Motol, Prague, and 2Department of Anthropology and Genetics, Faculty of Nature Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Received February 6, 2002
Accepted April 24, 2002

Obesity in children is accompanied by increased circulating leptin concentrations. Girls have higher leptin concentrations than boys. The aim of our study was to compare serum leptin levels before and after a five-week weight reduction program and to study the relationship of leptin levels, serum total cholesterol, and androgens (testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate) in 33 obese boys (age: 12.71.97 years, BMI: 30.46±4.54) and 66 obese girls (age: 12.7±2.51 years, BMI: 29.31±4.62). We found that serum leptin concentrations in obese children were significantly decreased after a weight reduction program (before 20.79±9.61 ng/ml, after 13.50±8.65 ng/ml in girls; before 12.25±10.09 ng/ml and after 5.18±3.56 ng/ml in boys, p<0.0001 in both genders). Leptin levels correlated positively with the body mass index before and after weight reduction. There was a positive association in obese boys and a negative one in obese girls between leptin levels and the WHR (waist to hip circumference ratio). Serum leptin also shows a strong relationship to fat distribution (p = 0.02 in boys, p<0.0001 in girls). No significant correlation was found between leptin concentrations and total cholesterol or androgens. We confirmed that leptin is a sensitive parameter of body composition and weight reduction in obese children.

Key words
Leptin • Children • Obesity • Androgens

Reprint requests
Renata Pilcová, M.D., Institute of Endocrinology, Národní třída 8, 116 94 Prague 1, Czech Republic. E-mail:

© 2003 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences