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Mexican American Children Have Differential Elevation of Metabolic Biomarkers Proportional to Obesity Status

McFarlin, Brian K.*; Johnson, Craig A.; Moreno, Jeanette P.; Foreyt, John P.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: December 2013 - Volume 57 - Issue 6 - p 718–721
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182a6993d
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

Objectives: There is a health disparity for obesity among Mexican Americans compared with other racial/ethnic groups. In particular, Mexican American children who are obese are likely to become obese adults. The purpose of this study was to examine traditional and nontraditional risk factors in a subset of Mexican American children before their participation in a larger clinical weight loss study.

Methods: Venous blood samples were collected from self-identified Mexican American children (12–14 years old) who were assigned to 1 of 3 weight groups based on their standardized body mass index; normal weight (N = 66), overweight (N = 23), or obese (N = 39). Serum was analyzed for interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, C-peptide, ghrelin, glucagon-like protein, gastric inhibitory polypeptide-1, glucagon, insulin, leptin, macrophage chemoattractant protein 1, and pancreatic polypeptide using a Luminex MagPix-based assay. Total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose were analyzed using enzymatic assays. Data were analyzed for significance using separate analysis of variance tests, with significance set at P < 0.05.

Results: Relative to normal weight and overweight children, obese children had significantly elevated C-peptide (P < 0.0001), insulin (P < 0.0001), leptin (P < 0.0001), macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (P = 0.005), and tumor necrosis factor-α (P = 0.006).

Conclusions: We observed that Mexican American children as a function of body weight had elevated serum concentrations of several biomarkers that have been linked to chronic disease development in adults. More research is needed to understand how these differences affect disease risk in adulthood.

*Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation, University of North Texas, Denton

Department of Pediatrics-Nutrition, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Brian K. McFarlin, PhD, University of North Texas, Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation, 1921 West Chestnut Street, Denton, TX 76201 (e-mail:

Received 6 June, 2013

Accepted 14 July, 2013

This article has been developed as a Journal CME Activity by NASPGHAN. Visit http:// to view instructions, documentation, and the complete necessary steps to receive CME credit for reading this article.

This study was funded by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture (ARS 2533759358).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,