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Antioxidant enzymes activities in obese Tunisian children

Sonia Sfar1*, Raoudha Boussoffara2, Mohamed Tahar Sfar12 and Abdelhamid Kerkeni1

Author Affiliations

1 Unité de recherche «Eléments trace, radicaux libres, systèmes antioxydants et pathologies humaines», Faculté de médecine de Monastir, Université de Monastir, rue Avicenne, 5019, Monastir, Tunisia

2 Service de Pédiatrie, Hôpital universitaire de Mahdia, 5111, Mahdia, Tunisia

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:18  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-18

Published: 29 January 2013



The oxidant stress, expected to increase in obese adults, has an important role in the pathogenesis of many diseases. It results when free radical formation is greatly increased or protective antioxidant mechanisms are compromised. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the antioxidant response to obesity-related stress in healthy children.


A hundred and six healthy children (54 obese and 52 controls), aged 6–12 years old, participated in this study. The collected data included anthropometric measures, blood pressure, fasting glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides and enzymatic antioxidants (Superoxide dismutase: SOD, Catalase: CAT and Glutathione peroxidase: GPx).


The first step antioxidant response, estimated by the SOD activity, was significantly higher in obese children compared with normal-weight controls (p < 0.05). Mean activities of anti-radical GPx and CAT enzymes were not affected by the BMI increase. Although, total cholesterol levels were statistically higher in the obese group, there was no significant association with the SOD activity.


The obesity-related increase of the oxidant stress can be observed even in the childhood period. In addition to the complications of an increased BMI, obesity itself can be considered as an independent risk factor of free radical production resulting in an increased antioxidant response.

Catalase; Glutathione peroxidase; Superoxide dismutase; Obesity; Oxidant stress; Children