OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship between insulin levels and cardiovascular risk factors in children and determine whether it varies among ethnic groups. METHODS: Cardiovascular risk factors and insulin levels were compared in 144 Mexican-American and Anglo-American mother-child pairs, when the children were 11 years of age. RESULTS: Although mean age did not differ between ethnicities, Mexican-American mothers and children both had a greater body mass index (mothers: 29.2 +/- 6.2 vs 27.2 +/- 7.9; children: 21.7 +/- 4.7 vs 19.7 +/- 4.6) and sum of skinfolds than did Anglo-Americans. Triglycerides, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting insulin, and cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein ratio were higher, while high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was lower in both Mexican-American adults and children compared with Anglo-Americans. After adjusting for measures of obesity, only high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels remained significantly lower in Mexican-Americans. For both adults and children, higher quartiles of insulin levels were associated with significantly higher triglycerides, blood pressure and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/apolipoprotein B levels (estimate of dense low-density lipoprotein size). A summary variable representing cardiovascular risk factors present in adult syndrome X patients was higher in both Mexican-American adults and children than in Anglo-Americans. CONCLUSION: Mexican-American children and adults have higher levels of many cardiovascular risk factors, and this appears related to higher insulin levels and overweight. Appropriate nutrition, weight control, and exercise at early ages could be important in slowing the development of atherosclerosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health