Objective: A sharp increase in the prevalence of obesity and a decline in iron deficiency in children was observed between the two consecutive Nutrition and Health Surveys in Taiwan. The aim of this study was to evaluate the distribution of hepcidin in relation to nutritional status in children. Methods: 648 children ages 7 to 13 y living in Taipei and New Taipei City were enrolled in this study. Parameters for obesity, iron status, and inflammatory markers were evaluated. Results: There were no differences in the prevalence of iron deficiency and iron depletion between normal and overweight/obese children. A V-sharp hepcidin distribution curve was seen in normal weight children and overweight/obese boys. Serum hepcidin levels remained stable in overweight/obese girls during transition from childhood to teenager. Overweight/obese children had increased serum nitric oxide (NO) and interleukin (IL)-1β but decreased IL-10 concentration compared with normal weight children. A strong inverse relationship was found between IL-10 and body mass index (BMI; odds ratio (OR), 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83-0.89). By contrast, positive correlations were observed between BMI and IL-1β (OR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.29-1.98); and between BMI and NO (OR, 1.04, 95% CI, 1.02-1.07). Multivariate linear regression analysis showed serum hepcidin was significantly correlated with IL-10 (β = 0.26, P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Our results raise the possibility that IL-10 may play a role in iron homeostasis. Decreased circulating IL-10 concentration may temporary protect young overweight/obese girls against the development of iron deficiency. However, long-term decrease in hepcidin concentration may increase the risk for iron overload in overweight/obese children.
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