Send to

Choose Destination
Circulation. 1996 Jan 1;93(1):54-9.

Persistent elevation of plasma insulin levels is associated with increased cardiovascular risk in children and young adults. The Bogalusa Heart Study.

Author information

Tulane National Center for Cardiovascular Health, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, La. 70112-2824, USA.



Hyperinsulinemia has been considered to be a potent cardiovascular risk factor. The present investigation examines persistently elevated fasting insulin levels from childhood to young adulthood and its influence on cardiovascular risk factors.


A longitudinal cohort was constructed from two cross-sectional surveys in a community-based population over an 8-year period: 1606 individuals (39% were black) aged 5 to 23 years participated in the first survey. Stability in rankings (persistence) of insulin levels was shown by the presence of significant correlations between year 1 and year 8 values (r=.23 to .36, P<.0001), with a greater magnitude in older subjects. Compared with subjects with levels of insulin consistently in the lowest quartile, those with levels always in the highest quartile showed higher (P<.001) levels of body mass index (+9 kg/m2), triglycerides (+58 mg/dL), LDL cholesterol (+11 mg/dL), VLDL cholesterol (+8 mg/dL), glucose (+9 mg/dL), systolic blood pressure (+7 mm Hg), and diastolic blood pressure (+3 mm Hg); lower (P<.001) levels of HDL cholesterol (-4 mg/dL): and higher (P<.05) prevalence of parental history of diabetes (3.3-fold) and hypertension (1.2-fold). There were 739 young adults aged 20 to 31 years at follow-up. As adults, individuals with consistently elevated insulin versus those with consistently decreased insulin had increased (P<.05) prevalence of obesity (36-fold), hypertension (2.5-fold), and dyslipidemia (3-fold), which was attributed to both baseline insulin and change of insulin from baseline to follow-up. In addition, clustering of these risk factors was stronger (P<.05) in adults with persistent insulin elevation.


Elevated insulin levels persist from childhood through young adulthood, resulting in a clinically relevant adverse cardiovascular risk profile in young adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center