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Over Half of Obese Teens Are Insulin Resistant

Data forecasts worrisome trend for U.S. health care

THURSDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Some 52.1 percent of obese adolescents are insulin resistant, according to the results of a population-based study published in the November issue of Diabetes Care.

Joyce M. Lee, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined data on a nationally representative sample of 1,802 non-diabetic adolescents, aged 12 to 19, surveyed between 1999 and 2002.

The researchers found that girls had greater homeostatis model assessment of insulin resistance than boys, and Mexican-American adolescents were at greater risk than whites, but results were similar for blacks and whites.

Obese children with a body mass index in the 95th percentile or higher had much higher levels of homeostatis model assessment of insulin resistance than children below the 85th percentile. Body weight accounted for almost one-third (29.1 percent) of the difference. Weight was also the most significant predictor of insulin resistance, which had a 52.1 percent prevalence in obese children.

"Obesity in U.S. adolescents represents the most important risk factor for insulin resistance, independent of sex, age, or race/ethnicity," the authors write. "The prevalence of insulin resistance in obese children foreshadows a worrisome trend for the burden of type 2 diabetes in the United States."

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