The researchers studied 126 overweight Hispanic children between the ages of eight and 13 with a family history of type 2 diabetes. The metabolic syndrome was defined as having at least three of the following--abdominal obesity, low HDL-cholesterol, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). They discovered that 90 percent of the subjects had at least one feature of the metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, 30 percent had three or more risk factors and had the metabolic syndrome. These findings show that overweight Hispanic youth are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the data suggested that greater levels of insulin resistance were associated with higher risk.
"Along with the high rates of the metabolic syndrome and the conditions associated with this disease, we found a direct association between insulin resistance, which is linked to diabetes, and HDL or "good" cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, independent of body fat," explained Dr. Cruz. "These results suggest that in Hispanic youth with a family history of diabetes, insulin resistance directly contributes to the development of metabolic syndrome and is associated with an adverse metabolic profile."
The researchers noted that work should be done to improve insulin resistance in Hispanic youth in order to help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and premature cardiovascular disease. They suggested that future research efforts focus on improving insulin through exercise, diet and, especially in those at greatest risk with the use of pharmacological agents.