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Diabetes Care. 2012 Jan;35(1):158-62. doi: 10.2337/dc11-1456. Epub 2011 Oct 31.

Usefulness of the high triglyceride-to-HDL cholesterol ratio to identify cardiometabolic risk factors and preclinical signs of organ damage in outpatient children.

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Department of Internal Medicine, S. Maria delle Grazie, Pozzuoli Hospital, Naples, Italy.



To evaluate whether the high triglyceride-to-HDL cholesterol (TG-to-HDL-C) ratio is associated with cardiometabolic risk (CMR) factors and preclinical signs of organ damage in an outpatient population of white children and adolescents.


The study population included 884 subjects (aged 6-16 years), of whom 206 (23%) were normal weight, 135 (15%) were overweight, and 543 (61%) were obese. Biochemical variables were analyzed in the whole sample, whereas homocysteine and left ventricular (LV) geometry and function were evaluated in 536 and 258 children, respectively.


The percentage of pubertal children (P < 0.001), as well as measurements of BMI, waist circumference, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, white blood cell count, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), systolic blood pressure (P < 0.0001, for all), creatinine (P < 0.001), and diastolic blood pressure (P < 0.02), increased from the lowest to the highest tertile of the TG-to-HDL-C ratio. Age, sex, homocysteine, and glomerular filtration rate did not change. Moreover, interventricular septum thickness, relative wall thickness, and LV mass index (P = 0.01 to P < 0.0001) increased across tertiles of the TG-to-HDL-C ratio. Children with a TG-to-HDL-C ratio ≥2.0 showed a two- to threefold higher risk of elevated ALT levels and concentric LV hypertrophy than those with a TG-to-HDL-C ratio <2.0, independent of confounding factors.


The high TG-to-HDL-C ratio is associated with several CMR factors and preclinical signs of liver and cardiac abnormalities in the outpatient, white pediatric population. Thus, a TG-to-HDL-C ratio ≥2.0 may be useful in clinical practice to detect children with a worsened CMR profile who need monitoring to prevent cardiovascular disease in adulthood.

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