Is obesity an outcome of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist administration? Analysis of growth and body composition in 110 patients with central precocious puberty

M R Palmert, M J Mansfield, W F Crowley, J F Crigler, J D Crawford, P A Boepple
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 1999, 84 (12): 4480-8
Concern has been raised that children with central precocious puberty (CPP) are prone to the development of obesity. Here we report longitudinal height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) data from 96 girls and 14 boys with CPP before, during, and after GnRH agonist (GnRHa) administration. Skinfold thickness (n = 46) and percent body fat by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (n = 21) were determined in subsets for more accurate assessment of body composition and to validate the use of the BMI SD score as an index of body fatness in our subjects. Before the initiation of therapy (PRE), the girls with CPP had a mean BMI SD score for chronological age (CA) of 1.1+/-0.1 and for bone age (BA) of 0.1+/-0.1. By the end of the study, 12-24 months after the discontinuation of GnRHa, the mean BMI SD score was 0.9+/-0.1 for CA and 0.6+/-0.1 for BA. At the visit when GnRHa was discontinued, 41% and 22% of the girls had a BMI SD score for CA more than the 85th and 95th percentiles, respectively, indicating that obesity was present at a high rate among our subjects; the BMI SD score for CA at the PRE visit was its strongest predictor. Indeed, 86% of the girls with BMI SD score for CA above the 85th percentile when GnRHa was discontinued also had BMI SD score for CA above the 85th percentile at the PRE visit. The proportion of boys with elevated BMI SD score for CA was also high. Fifty-four percent and 31% of the SD scores were greater than the 85th and 95th percentiles after 36 months of GnRHa therapy; the BMI SD score for CA PRE had been above the 85th percentile in 71% of these overweight subjects. Obesity occurs at a high rate among children with CPP, but does not appear to be related to long term pituitary-gonadal suppression induced by GnRHa administration. Children with CPP should have a baseline BMI SD score calculated, and those at risk for obesity should be counseled appropriately.

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