Objective. In a recent study, we found that Greenlandic Inuit children had a more adverse metabolic profile than Danish children. Aerobic fitness and adiposity could only partly account for the differences. Therefore, we set out to evaluate and compare plasma leptin and adiponectin levels in Danish and Inuit children. Methods. In total, 187 Inuit and 132 Danish children (5.7–17.1 years) had examinations of anthropometrics, body fat content, pubertal staging, fasting blood and aerobic fitness. Results. Plasma leptin was higher in Danish boys [3,774 (4,741–3,005)] [pg/mL unadjusted geometric mean (95% CI)] compared to both northern [2,076 (2,525–1,706)] (p<0.001) and southern (2,515 (3,137–2,016)) (p<0.001) living Inuit boys and higher in Danish girls [6,988 (8,353–5,847)] compared to southern living Inuit girls [4,910 (6,370–3,785)] (p=0.021) and tended to be higher compared to northern living Inuit girls [5,131 (6,444–4,085)] (p=0.052). Plasma adiponectin was higher for both Danish boys [22,359 (2,573–19,428)] [ng/mL unadjusted geometric mean (95% CI)] and girls [26,609 (28,994–24,420)] compared to southern living Inuit boys [15,306 (18,406–12,728)] and girls [18,864 (22,640–15,717)] (both p<0.001), respectively. All differences remained after adjustment for body fat percentage (BF%), aerobic fitness, age and puberty. The leptin/adiponectin ratio was higher in Danish boys and tended to be higher in Danish girls compared to northern living Inuit boys and girls, respectively. These differences were eliminated after adjustment for BF%, aerobic fitness, age and puberty. Conclusions. In contrast to our hypothesis, plasma leptin was higher in Danish children despite a more healthy metabolic profile compared to Inuit children. As expected, plasma adiponectin was lowest in Inuit children with the most adverse metabolic profile.
International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 2013, Vol 72, p. 1-7