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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #355814

Research Project: Novel Functions and Biomarkers for Vitamins and Minerals

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

Title: Associations between school readiness and obesity- and inflammation-related biomarkers in low-income preschoolers within the healthy kids study

Author
item Sutter, Carolyn - University Of Illinois
item Ontai, Lenna - University Of California, Davis
item Shilts, Mical - University Of California, Davis
item Lanoue, Louise - University Of California, Davis
item Allen, Lindsay
item Townsend, Marilyn - University Of California, Davis

Submitted to: Mind, Brain, and Education
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2018
Publication Date: 3/8/2018
Citation: Sutter, C., Ontai, L.L., Shilts, M.K., Lanoue, L., Allen, L.H., Townsend, M.S. 2018. Associations between school readiness and obesity- and inflammation-related biomarkers in low-income preschoolers within the healthy kids study. Mind, Brain, and Education. 12:28-38. https://doi/pdf/10.1111/mbe.12165.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/mbe.12165

Interpretive Summary: Previous research suggests obesity is negatively related to cognitive functioning and academic outcomes in addition to physical health. However, not much is known about this association in early childhood or the underlying physiological causes. Biomarkers related to obesity have been associated with cognitive performance, in particular the hormone leptin which is secreted by body fat, and pro-inflammatory cytokines secreted by the immune system including interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (CRP). These associations may be further exacerbated for children who experience early life stress. With a sample of low-income preschoolers, the current study examined associations between obesity-related biomarkers and aspects of behavioral and cognitive school readiness. Partial correlations controlling for child age show the hypothesized negative associations between pro-inflammatory cytokines and school readiness, while leptin was positively associated with cognitive school readiness and body mass index (BMI). Findings suggest connections between obesity, physiology, and school readiness need further examination, and may have implications for early childhood education and health interventions.

Technical Abstract: Previous research suggests obesity is negatively related to cognitive functioning and academic outcomes in addition to physical health. However, not much is known about this association in early childhood or potential physiological underpinnings. Biomarkers related to obesity have been associated with cognition, in particular the adipokine leptin, and pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (CRP). These associations may be further exacerbated for children who experience early life stress. With a sample of low-income preschoolers, the current study examined associations between obesity-related biomarkers and aspects of behavioral and cognitive school readiness. Partial correlations controlling for child age show hypothesized negative associations between pro-inflammatory cytokines and school readiness, while leptin was positively associated with cognitive school readiness and body mass index (BMI) z-score. Findings suggest connections between obesity, physiology, and school readiness need further examination, but may have implications for early childhood education and health interventions