Three in 10 pre-teens in the University of Southern California Study of Latinos at Risk (SOLAR) Diabetes Project have the metabolic syndrome, a clustering of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to investigators from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Results appear in the January 2004 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The metabolic syndrome comprises numerous risk factors: high blood pressure, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol), central obesity, elevated triglycerides (another fat linked to heart disease) and impaired glucose tolerance (abnormally high blood sugar levels, also called pre-diabetes). The syndrome significantly increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Researchers suspect that this is because obesity is particularly common among Latinos-35 percent of young Latinos are overweight, about twice the proportion a decade ago. Obesity, in turn, is associated with insulin resistance, which is linked to metabolic changes and heightened disease risk.
"Obesity is now a critical, common nutritional problem in children," says Michael I. Goran, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine and physiology and biophysics at the Keck School and a study author. "These studies show that the likely common pathway linking obesity to increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease is insulin resistance. Our results show that this link is established early in life."
Researchers examined 126 overweight Latino boys and girls ages 8 to 13 with a family history of type 2 diabetes who were enrolled in SOLAR, a long-term study exploring risk factors
Contact: Jon Weiner
University of Southern California