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Race may be risk factor for insulin resistance

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Black women even if their weight is normal may be at increased risk for insulin resistance, a condition associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart vessel disease, according to new research by Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

"It is well known that obesity is a contributor to insulin resistance," said senior researcher Jorge Calles-Escandon, M.D. "Our research suggests that race may also be an important factor. Almost half of lean, black women had insulin resistance double the rate in Hispanic or Caucasian women."

The results were reported today at ENDO 2006, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston.

The goal of the study was to see how obesity relates to insulin resistance in three ethnic groups: black, Caucasian and Hispanic. Insulin resistance is when the body does not effectively use the hormone insulin to process glucose, forcing the pancreas to produce more insulin. Researchers analyzed data from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS), designed to assess relationships between insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease in a large multi-ethnic population.

For the study, the researchers divided data from female IRAS participants into different groups based on body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI of less than 25 is considered "normal." For example, a woman who weighs 148 and is 5 feet, 6 inches, has a BMI of 25.

The analysis revealed that 47 percent of black women of normal weight had insulin resistance, compared to less than 20 percent of the Hispanic or Caucasian women.

"Our research suggests that race, in addition to obesity, is an important contributor to the development of insulin resistance and possibly to type 2 diabetes," said Jennifer Wolfgang, D.O., an endocrinology fellow, who presented the results.

Both insulin resistance and the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes increase
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
26-Jun-2006


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