Document Type


Publication Date



Introduction Rates of obesity and overweight, which frequently lead to type 2 diabetes, have increased dramatically among US children during the past 30 years. We analyzed associations between insulin resistance and other markers of disease in a sample of Mexican American adolescents from a severely disadvantaged community on the Texas-Mexico border.

Methods We analyzed results from 325 students from 1 high school in this descriptive study. We measured height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipids; calculated body mass index; and estimated insulin resistance.

Results Approximately 50% of our sample (mean age, 16 y) were overweight or obese, and more participants were obese than overweight. More than 40% had high waist circumference, and 66% had elevated high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. These characteristics were already present in the youngest participants (aged 12 y). Although only 1% of participants had elevated fasting blood glucose, 27% exhibited insulin resistance and most of these were also obese. Similarly, participants with high waist circumference were more likely to exhibit insulin resistance than those with normal waist circumference.

Conclusion Participants in this sample had insulin resistance, a potent predictor of diabetes. Two markers, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high waist circumference, were strongly linked to insulin resistance; the surrogate for central adiposity, waist circumference, exhibited strong association. We identified high levels of obesity and markers for future disease in our sample. These findings emphasize the need to address insulin resistance at least as early as adolescence to prevent adverse economic, social, and health consequences.

Publication Title

Preventing chronic disease

Included in

Nursing Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.