OBJECTIVE - The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of sex and race/ethnicity on metabolic risk and health behaviors in minority youth.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - A total of 173 seventh graders (46% male and 54% female; 49% Hispanic and 51% African American) with BMI ≥85th percentile and a family history of diabetes were assessed with weight, height, BMI, percent body fat, and waist circumference measures. Laboratory indexes included 2-h oral glucose tolerance tests with insulin levels at 0 and 2 h, fasting A1C, and lipids. Insulin resistance was estimated by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR). Youth also completed questionnaires evaluating health behaviors.
RESULTS - Average BMI (31.6 ± 6.4 kg/m²) and percent body fat (39.5 ± 10.6%) were high. All participants demonstrated insulin resistance with elevated HOMA-IR values (8.5 ± 5.2). Compared with African American youth, Hispanic youth had higher triglycerides and lower HDL cholesterol despite similar BMI. Hispanic youth reported lower self-efficacy for diet, less physical activity, and higher total fat intake. Male youth had higher glucose (0 and 2 h) and reported more physical activity, more healthy food choices, and higher calcium intake than female youth.
CONCLUSIONS - Screening high-risk youth for insulin resistance and lipid abnormalities is recommended. Promoting acceptable physical activities and healthy food choices may be especially important for Hispanic and female youth.