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Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Mar;6(2):279-289.

Ethnicity, obesity and the metabolic syndrome: implications on assessing risk and targeting intervention.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, PO Box 800386, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA Tel.: +1 434 924 9833


Pediatric obesity threatens the future health of a growing number of children worldwide. An added challenge in identifying the patients at greatest need for intervention due to their elevated risk for future disease is that pediatric obesity and the associated metabolic syndrome manifest differently among different ethnic groups. African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to exhibit obesity and insulin resistance and are at a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, using current criteria, African-American adolescents are much less likely to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, largely owing to lower rates of dyslipidemia. Further development is needed in ethnicity-inclusive means of risk identification among adolescents to accurately target treatment toward children at highest risk for future disease and to motivate adolescent patients and their families towards lifestyle improvement. Effective targeting and intensive treatment efforts may help in avoiding future sequelae of obesity among all ethnicities.

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