The definition of insulin resistance using HOMA-IR for Americans of Mexican descent using machine learning

PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21041. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021041. Epub 2011 Jun 14.


Objective: The lack of standardized reference range for the homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index has limited its clinical application. This study defines the reference range of HOMA-IR index in an adult Hispanic population based with machine learning methods.

Methods: This study investigated a Hispanic population of 1854 adults, randomly selected on the basis of 2000 Census tract data in the city of Brownsville, Cameron County. Machine learning methods, support vector machine (SVM) and Bayesian Logistic Regression (BLR), were used to automatically identify measureable variables using standardized values that correlate with HOMA-IR; K-means clustering was then used to classify the individuals by insulin resistance.

Results: Our study showed that the best cutoff of HOMA-IR for identifying those with insulin resistance is 3.80. There are 39.1% individuals in this Hispanic population with HOMA-IR>3.80.

Conclusions: Our results are dramatically different using the popular clinical cutoff of 2.60. The high sensitivity and specificity of HOMA-IR>3.80 for insulin resistance provide a critical fundamental for our further efforts to improve the public health of this Hispanic population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Mexican Americans*
  • ROC Curve
  • Reference Values