Insulin resistance (metabolic) syndrome in children

B. Rosenberg, Antoinette Moran, Alan R Sinaiko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The insulin resistance (metabolic) syndrome (IRS), also known as syndrome X, is characterized by a clustering of factors associated with cardiovascular risk (obesity, impaired glucose metabolism, hypertension, and dyslipidemia). As reported from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, the IRS is present in approximately 24% of adults in the United States and is strongly associated with coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality. Of equal importance, it is now clear that the origins of the IRS extend back into childhood (the IRS is found in approximately 4-10% of children and adolescents) and that the high prevalence of adult IRS is strongly linked to the development of cardiovascular risk during childhood and tracking of the components of the IRS into adulthood. The goal of this review is to present a summary of the currently available information on the IRS in the pre-adult age group with reference to adult studies only when necessary for clarification. The review will specifically summarize insulin resistance in childhood; the important influence of obesity and, in particular, visceral fat, on insulin resistance and the IRS; differences between ethnic groups; relations to adipocytokines, inflammatory factors and oxidative stress; relations of hypertension and lipids to insulin resistance; familial factors; endocrine complications; and potential therapeutic effects from diet and physical activity. Despite the lesser amount of basic and clinical information on childhood IRS in comparison to information available from adult studies, there can now be little doubt that the adverse associations among risk factors comprising the IRS begin in childhood. The challenge is to identify etiologic relations and develop intervention strategies designed to reduce the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-244
Number of pages16
JournalPanminerva Medica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Child
  • Insuline resistence


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