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Diabetes. 2002 Jan;51(1):204-9.

Predictability of childhood adiposity and insulin for developing insulin resistance syndrome (syndrome X) in young adulthood: the Bogalusa Heart Study.

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Tulane Center for Cardiovascular Health, Departments of Epidemiology, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.


The occurrence of insulin resistance syndrome (syndrome X) is common in the general population. However, information is scant on the childhood predictors of syndrome X. This study examined the relative contribution of childhood adiposity and insulin to the adulthood risk of developing syndrome X in a biracial (black-white) community-based longitudinal cohort (n = 745; baseline age, 8-17 years; mean +/- SD follow-up period, 11.6 +/- 3.4 years). The four criterion risk variables considered were the highest quartile (specific for age, race, sex, and study year) of 1) BMI, 2) fasting insulin, 3) systolic or mean arterial blood pressure, and 4) total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio or triglycerides to HDL cholesterol ratio. Clustering was defined as the combination of all four risk variables. In addition to the criterion risk variables, clustered adults had adverse levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure, and glucose compared with those who did not cluster (P < 0.001). Childhood variables, except glucose, showed adverse trends with increasing number of criterion risk variables present in adulthood (P for trend, 0.01-0.0001). The proportion of individuals who developed clustering as adults increased across childhood BMI (P for trend <0.0001) and insulin (P for trend <0.01) quartiles. The relationship to childhood BMI remained significant even after adjusting for childhood insulin. In contrast, corresponding association with childhood insulin disappeared after adjusting for childhood BMI. In a logistic regression model, childhood BMI and insulin were significant predictors of adulthood clustering, with BMI being the strongest and showing a curvilinear relationship. Using an insulin resistance index instead of insulin did not change the above findings. These results indicate that childhood obesity is a powerful predictor of development of syndrome X and underscore the importance of weight control early in life.

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