The "Obesity Epidemic in Children" and the World

Copyright 2003, James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.

Very briefly: Testosterone reduces leptin. Leptin reduces appetite. Therefore, children of higher testosterone have less appetite suppression. It is my hypothesis that the percentage of individuals of higher testosterone is increasing. Therefore, overeating is increasing. This may account for the obesity "epidemic" in the U.S. (Additionally, testosterone stimulates ghrelin which stimulates appetite; see second citation, below.)


"Relation of race, age, and sex hormone differences to serum leptin concentrations in children and adolescents.

We explored the effects of race, age, and sex hormones on the serum leptin concentrations in 203 white and 88 black children and adolescents (ages 9.3-20.5 years). A significant sex by race interaction on serum leptin levels (p = 0.0301) was observed with lower serum leptin concentrations, adjusted for subscapular thickness and age, in black boys than in white boys. Girls had serum leptin levels that were on average 2.15 times those of boys (p < 0.0001). There was an age by sex interaction (p < 0.0001) with serum leptin concentrations decreasing in boys but not in girls with age. A strongly inverse relationship of serum testosterone levels with serum leptin levels in boys (p = 0.0067) appeared to explain this effect of age. In conclusion, the serum leptin concentration is slightly lower in black boys. A higher testosterone level in boys appears to account for an age-related decline in serum leptin in boys and the overall lower levels in boys than in girls." (Horm Res. 1998;49(5):240-6)


"Testosterone replacement therapy restores normal ghrelin in hypogonadal men.

We recently described a connection between androgens and ghrelin in women affected by the polycystic ovary syndrome. To further investigate the interaction between sex steroids and ghrelin, we investigated circulating ghrelin levels in a group of hypogonadal men before and after therapeutic intervention aiming at normalization low testosterone (T) concentrations. Seven hypogonadal men were compared with nine overweight/moderately obese men matched for body mass index and body fat distribution parameters, as well as with 10 normal weight controls. Total and free T and plasma ghrelin levels were significantly lower in the hypogonadal men than in the control groups. Hypogonadal men also had a significantly higher insulin resistance state. Ghrelin levels were positively correlated with both total and free T concentrations. A significant correlation was also found between ghrelin and the anthropometric parameters and the insulin resistance indexes. However, in a multiple regression analysis in which a correction for all covariants was performed, only the relationship with total and free T persisted. After the 6-month replacement T therapy, ghrelin levels of hypogonadal patients increased and did not differ significantly in comparison with both control groups. The positive correlation between ghrelin and androgens still persisted after T replacement therapy, after adjusting for confounding variables. These data further indicate that sex hormones modulate circulating ghrelin concentrations in humans. This may be consistent with the concept that ghrelin may exert a relevant role in the endocrine network connecting the control of the reproductive system with the regulation of energy balance." ( Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Sep;88(9):4139-43)