Tanner-dependent (A) and age-dependent (B) adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) (pmol/l) and cortisol (nmol/l) levels in 406 overweight and obese children and adolescents (filled circles, males, left panel; open circles, females, right panel). Cortisol levels were higher in the Tanner 4 to 5 stages than the Tanner 1 stage in the whole group (P <0.02*) and in females (P <0.02*). ACTH levels were higher in Tanner 4 to 5 stages (P <0.001*) and in 14.0 to 15.9 years (P <0.01*) in males than in females. Significance was maintained when the model included body mass index (BMI) (or BMI standard deviation score (BMISDS)) and homoeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) as covariates. *Indicates significance of analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) analysis.