Associations of Obesity with Linear Growth and Puberty

Shlomit Shalitin*, Galia Gat-Yablonski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The prevalence of obesity in childhood has increased dramatically in recent decades with increased risk of developing cardiometabolic and other comorbidities. Childhood adiposity may also influence processes of growth and puberty. Summary: Growth patterns of obesity during childhood have been shown to be associated with increased linear growth in early childhood, leading to accelerated epiphyseal growth plate (EGP) maturation. Several hormones secreted by the adipose tissue may affect linear growth in the context of obesity, both via the growth hormone IGF-1 axis and via a direct effect on the EGP. The observation that children with obesity tend to mature earlier than lean children has led to the assumption that the degree of body fatness may trigger the neuroendocrine events that lead to pubertal onset. The most probable link between obesity and puberty is leptin and its interaction with the kisspeptin system, which is an important regulator of puberty. However, peripheral action of adipose tissue could also be involved in changes in the onset of puberty. In addition, nutritional factors, epigenetics, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals are potential mediators linking pubertal onset to obesity. In this review, we focused on interactions of obesity with linear growth and pubertal processes, based on basic research and clinical data in humans. Key Message: Children with obesity are subject to accelerated linear growth with risk of impaired adult height and early puberty, with its psychological consequences. The data highlight another important objective in combatting childhood obesity, for the prevention of abnormal growth and pubertal patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-136
Number of pages17
JournalHormone Research in Paediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • Adiponectin
  • Growth
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Obesity
  • Puberty


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