Urban Teens' Weight, Activity Levels Affect Insulin

Overweight or low activity status correlates with decreased insulin sensitivity and increased secretion

WEDNESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight status or low levels of physical activity correlate well with decreased insulin sensitivity and elevated insulin secretion in a population of urban black teens, according to a report in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Soren Snitker, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of 56 healthy adolescents, recruited at infancy in a low-income urban community, to examine how body composition and physical activity are related to insulin sensitivity and secretion. All subjects were between the ages of 11 and 16, and 95 percent were black.

The investigators found that 39 percent of the participants fell in the 85th percentile or above of body mass index, with half in this group being classified as overweight (in the 95th percentile and above). High body mass index scores and low physical activity correlated with low insulin sensitivity and high insulin secretion.

"The study shows that in a community sample of African American adolescents, both adiposity and lack of play-equivalent physical activity are independent statistical determinants of low insulin sensitivity and high insulin secretion, both of which have been identified as precursors of type 2 diabetes," the authors write.

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