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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Nov;166(11):1030-6. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.1263.

Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance in urban high school students of minority race/ethnicity.

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Departments of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.



To determine the point prevalences of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components among healthy weight, overweight, and obese inner-city public high school students, to compare the prevalences of MetS when using 2 different definitions (one with the impaired fasting glucose [IFG] level and the other with a homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-IR] of 3.99 or higher to define the glucose regulation component), and to compare the degree to which HOMA-IR and fasting glucose level are associated with the other MetS components.


Cross-sectional analysis.


Two New York City public high schools, from April 2008 through August 2011.


Convenience sample of 1185 high school youth, comprising predominantly Hispanic and African American students from low-income households, participating in The Banishing Obesity and Diabetes in Youth Project, a medical screening and education program.


Prevalences of the following individual MetS components: IFG threshold, HOMA-IR, hypertension, central adiposity, hypertriglyceridemia, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Rates of MetSIFG and MetSHOMA-IR were also assessed.


MetSIFG and MetSHOMA-IR point prevalences were both 0.3% in the healthy weight group; they were 2.6% and 5.9%, respectively, in the overweight group and were 22.9% and 35.1%, respectively, in the obese group (P < .05 for both). An IFG threshold of 100 mg/dL or higher was found in 1.0% of participants, whereas a HOMA-IR of 3.99 or higher was found in 19.5% of participants.


An elevated HOMA-IR is much more sensitive than an IFG threshold in identifying adolescents with metabolic dysregulation. Using a HOMA-IR threshold of 3.99 identifies more youth with MetS than using an IFG threshold of 100 mg/dL. In addition to increasing the sensitivity of MetS detection, HOMA-IR has a much higher association with the other MetS components than the IFG threshold and may better reflect a unified underlying pathologic process useful to identify youth at risk for disease.

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