Purpose: Evidence suggests that there may be a metabolic syndrome characterized by hyperinsulinemia or insulin resistance associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. The purpose of this study is to evaluate insulin, proinsulin or insulin resistance to determine which is the best parameter to predict lipid profiles among children in Taiwan. Methods: After multi-stage sampling, we randomly included 852 school children (415 boys and 437 girls) with a mean age of 13 yr in this study. We measured insulin and intact proinsulin levels by RIA (<0.2% cross-reactivity) and estimated insulin resistance index (IRI) using the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) method. We used standard methods to measure atherosclerotic lipid profiles including total cholesterol (CHOL), triglyceride (TG), HDL-C, apolipoprotein A (ApoA), apolipoprotein B (ApoB), and lipoprotein[a] and calculated LDL-C and TCHR (total cholesterol to HDL-C ratio) levels. Results: Girls had higher CHOL, LDL-C, ApoA and ApoB levels than boys (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in insulin, proinsulin and IRI status between boys and girls. Among boys, insulin, proinsulin and IRI were positively correlated with TG, ApoB and TCHR and negatively related to HDL-C. Among girls, these associations were attenuated and became insignificantly for TCHR and HDL-C. After adjusting for potential confounders, IRI and insulin were still positively associated with TG and ApoB levels and negatively associated with HDL-C in boys. However, in girls, proinsulin and insulin were positively associated with TG only. Finally, in the stepwise regression analyses, IRI was a better predictor of TG, HDL-C, and ApoB than insulin or proinsulin in boys. However, in girls, proinsulin was a stronger predictor than insulin or IRI for TG and TCHR. Conclusion: From this study, we found that IRI (in boys) and proinsulin (in girls) levels are generally more significant and stronger parameters than insulin for predicting lipid profiles among children in Taiwan.
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