Overweight Hispanic youth face increased risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome

Chevy Chase, MD, January 12, 2004 New research shows that large numbers of overweight Hispanic youth already have complications of obesity, including impaired glucose tolerance, which can lead to diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. The findings, which are published in the January issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), indicate that Hispanic youth may have underlying risk factors that make them more susceptible to diabetes, cardiovascular risks and the metabolic syndrome.

Recent studies have shown that the metabolic syndrome--a collection of health risks such as obesity, dyslipidemia (characterized by high blood triglycerides and low HDL-cholesterol) and high blood pressure, which increase the chance of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes--affects more than 20 percent of adults in the United States. Hispanics experience the highest rates of metabolic syndrome, with rates near 32 percent. During the past 10 years, the rate of obesity, which increases a person's risk of developing metabolic syndrome, has doubled among Hispanic youth. At the same time, the rates of type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance have also increased in this same group.

Dr. Michael Goran and researchers at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, conducted two separate analysis on data collected in overweight Hispanic children to determine some of the risk factors that make these groups vulnerable to diabetes and associated conditions and diseases. In the first study, Dr. Goran and his colleagues studied the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its individual components in Hispanic youth. They sought to understand the role of insulin sensitivity on metabolic syndrome and explored the relationships between the individual components of metabolic syndrome and insulin sensitivity.

"Obesity and the complications that are associated with this problem is a growing problem among minority children in the United States," e

Contact: Marisa Lavine
The Endocrine Society & The Hormone Foundation

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