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Heart Disease, Diabetes Common to Latinos

Posted - Jan. 13, 2004 at 6:20 a.m.



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LOS ANGELES, Jan 12, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Latino children in the United States may be particularly at risk for early stages of diabetes and heart disease.

Three in 10 pre-teens in the University of Southern California study of Latinos at Risk Diabetes Project have the metabolic syndrome of clustering of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at USC.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, said the metabolic syndrome comprises the risk factors: high blood pressure; low levels of high-density lipoprotein, the so-called "good" cholesterol; central obesity, elevated triglycerides; and impaired glucose tolerance or abnormally high blood sugar levels, also called pre-diabetes.

The researchers speculate the increased risk is a result of obesity -- 35 percent of young Latinos are overweight -- about twice the proportion a decade ago. Obesity is associated with insulin resistance, which is linked to metabolic changes and heightened disease risk.

"These studies show that the likely common pathway linking obesity to increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease is insulin resistance -- this link is established early in life," said study author Michael I. Goran, of the Keck School.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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