Purpose: To determine whether the association between acanthosis nigricans (AN) and hyperinsulinemia is independent of obesity and other variables.
Methods: A convenience sample of 675 New Mexico middle school students was screened to determine the presence of AN, obesity, and other variables, including: ethnicity, parental history of diabetes, and level of physical activity. Fasting glucose and insulin levels were drawn on 233 students to determine the association between risk factors and hyperinsulinemia.
Results: Acanthosis nigricans (AN) was present in 18.9% of students screened. Twenty-one percent of the subsample had hyperinsulinemia. Based on these results, the estimated prevalence of hyperinsulinemia among all middle school students in New Mexico was 8.9%. Forty-seven percent (47.2%) of students who had AN and were obese had hyperinsulinemia, compared with 2.4% of students who did not have either of these conditions. In multiple logistic regression analysis, AN and obesity were independently and positively associated with hyperinsulinemia, whereas physical activity was protective.
Conclusions: The high prevalence of risk factors in this population makes diabetes prevention a priority for public health action. AN screening is an easily performed, noninvasive method for identifying adolescents at risk for type 2 diabetes.