Dietary nutrients and insulin resistance in urban Asian Indian adolescents and young adults

Ann Nutr Metab. 2008;52(2):145-51. doi: 10.1159/000127416. Epub 2008 Apr 22.


Background: Asian Indians have a high prevalence of insulin resistance that may underlie their higher tendency to develop type 2 diabetes mellitus and early-onset atherosclerosis.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between dietary nutrients and insulin resistance in Asian Indian adolescents and young adults.

Design: Dietary nutrient intake values (24-hour dietary recall and monthly consumption data) and fasting serum insulin levels were studied in 352 (311 males and 41 females) healthy adolescents and young adults (mean age 18.0 +/- 2.3 years; range 14-25 years). Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed with hyperinsulinemia as the outcome variable and various dietary nutrients and anthropometric variables as covariates.

Results: Mean fasting serum insulin levels were 107.4 +/- 35.0 pmol/l (36.5-230.4 pmol/l). The intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was higher, saturated fat and the omega-6 to omega-3 PUFA ratio were in the upper limit, and omega-3 PUFAs (% caloric intake, En) were lower than the recommended dietary allowance for Asian Indians. The PUFAs (% En), BMI, percent body fat and waist circumference were significantly higher in the hyperinsulinemic group compared with the normoinsulinemic group (p = 0.021, 0.0021, 0.0006, and 0.0041, respectively). Multiple regression analysis showed that the lowest tertile of omega-6 (< 3% En) PUFA intake [adjusted OR (95% CI) = 0.3 (0.1-0.7)] and BMI [adjusted OR (95% CI) = 2.9 (1.4-6.0)] were the significant independent predictors of fasting hyperinsulinemia.

Conclusion: For prevention and amelioration of insulin resistance in Asian Indian adolescents and young adults, it is prudent to have normal BMI and low intake of omega-6 PUFAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet Records
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / epidemiology
  • India / epidemiology
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Sampling Studies
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated