Study of the Associations of Metabolic Hormones and Metabolic Syndrome in a Pediatric Hispanic Population in Northeast Tennessee

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East Tennessee has one of the most rapidly growing Hispanic population in the country. Further, it has been previously reported that this population is at an increased risk for developing metabolic syndrome (MetS), which is characterized by central obesity, abnormal blood lipids, hypertension, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance. Our collaborators at the Johnson City Community Health Center (JCCHC) observed these indicators of MetS even in young children, between the ages of two and ten. The principle objective of this research project was to examine the prevalence of risk factors for MetS and establish an expanded metabolic profile of young Hispanic children. These factors have not been previously examined in this population. Our working hypothesis is that even at a young age markers of MetS, specifically dysregulated hormone levels, are present in this pediatric population. Methods: In this cross-sectional analysis, a total of 118 Hispanic children between 2-10 years of age (Mean 6.4 ± 2.7, 45% male) age adjusted anthropometric measurements and blood samples were obtained. Blood samples were analyzed for glucose, and lipids (triglycerides, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol) and C-reactive protein through ETSU clinical labs. Insulin, adiponectin, leptin, ghrelin, CRP, IL-6, and TNF-a levels were measured using commercially available assays (Bio-Rad® Multiplex Immunoassay System). Results: There was a significant positive correlation with leptin and adiponectin levels and BMI. Further, children with 2 or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome (as determined by age- and sex-specific: waist circumference, blood pressure, HDL, and triglyceride measures) had significantly elevated leptin levels. The proportional relationship between these metabolic hormone levels and the central obesity indicator confirms that metabolic abnormalities are present in the pediatric Hispanic population at a young age in Northeast Tennessee. The predisposition for this demographic developing metabolic syndrome is evident with indicators being present so early in life. With Tennessee being ranked third in the nation for Hispanic population growth rate, these findings indicate a need for early age intervention protocols for Hispanic children in order to reduce their risk of developing metabolic syndrome.


Johnson City, TN

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