Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Insulin resistance and its association with the components of the metabolic syndrome among obese children and adolescents

Carlos Juárez-López1, Miguel Klünder-Klünder2, Patricia Medina-Bravo2, Adrián Madrigal-Azcárate1, Eliezer Mass-Díaz3 and Samuel Flores-Huerta2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department for Innovation and Quality. Institute for Decentralized Public Health Services (INDESALUD), Campeche State, Mexico

2 Community Health Research Department, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez, Ministry of Health (SSA) Mexico City, Mexico

3 Public Health Laboratory, Campeche State, Mexico

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2010, 10:318  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-318

Published: 7 June 2010



Insulin resistance is the primary metabolic disorder associated with obesity; yet little is known about its role as a determinant of the metabolic syndrome in obese children. The aim of this study is to assess the association between the degree of insulin resistance and the different components of the metabolic syndrome among obese children and adolescents.


An analytical, cross-sectional and population-based study was performed in forty-four public primary schools in Campeche City, Mexico. A total of 466 obese children and adolescents between 11-13 years of age were recruited. Fasting glucose and insulin concentrations, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressures were measured; insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome were also evaluated.


Out of the total population studied, 69% presented low values of high density lipoprotein cholesterol, 49% suffered from abdominal obesity, 29% had hypertriglyceridemia, 8% presented high systolic and 13% high diastolic blood pressure, 4% showed impaired fasting glucose, 51% presented insulin resistance and 20% metabolic syndrome. In spite of being obese, 13% of the investigated population did not present any metabolic disorder. For each one of the components of the metabolic syndrome, when insulin resistance increased so did odds ratios as cardiometabolic risk factors.


Regardless of age and gender an increased degree of insulin resistance is associated with a higher prevalence of disorders in each of the components of the metabolic syndrome and with a heightened risk of suffering metabolic syndrome among obese children and adolescents.