Recently, independent factors representing different features of insulin resistance syndrome (Syndrome X) have been identified by factor analysis in middle-aged and elderly adult populations. In this study, factor analysis was applied to the clustering characteristics of Syndrome X in a biracial (Black-White) community-based population of 4,522 children (ages 5-11 years), adolescents (ages 12-17 years), and young adults (ages 18-38 years) from the Bogalusa Heart Study who were screened during 1988-1996. Ponderal index (weight (kg)/height (m)3), levels of insulin, glucose, triglycerides, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were used as measures of components of Syndrome X. No evidence was found to support a one-factor hypothesis for this syndrome, but factor analysis yielded two uncorrelated factors (factor 1: insulin/lipids/glucose/ponderal index; factor 2: insulin/blood pressure). These two factors explained 54.6% of the total variance in the entire sample. The factor loading patterns were very similar in all race and age groups, based on high values of coefficients of congruence (0.89-1.0). These results suggest that Syndrome X is characterized by the linking of a metabolic entity (hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and obesity) to a hemodynamic factor (hypertension) through shared correlation with hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance, and that the clustering features are independent of sex and age in both Black and White populations.