Plasma triglyceride/HDL-cholesterol ratio, insulin resistance, and cardiometabolic risk in young adults

J Lipid Res. 2013 Oct;54(10):2795-9. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M040584. Epub 2013 Jul 17.


Studies in mature adults suggest that the plasma concentration ratio of triglyceride (TG)/HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) provides a simple way to identify apparently healthy individuals who are insulin resistant (IR) and at increased cardiometabolic risk. This study extends these observations by examining the clinical utility of the TG/HDL-C ratio and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in 2,244 healthy college students (17-24 years old) of Mexican Mestizo ancestry. The TG/HDL-C ratio separating the 25% with the highest value was used to identify IR and increased cardiometabolic risk. Cardiometabolic risk factors were more adverse in men and women whose TG/HDL-C ratios exceeded 3.5 and 2.5, respectively, and approximately one third were identified as being IR. The MetS identified fewer individuals as being IR, but their risk profile was accentuated. In conclusion, both a higher TG/HDL-C ratio and a diagnosis of the MetS identify young IR individuals with an increased cardiometabolic risk profile. The TG/HDL-C ratio identified a somewhat greater number of "high risk" subjects, whereas the MetS found a group whose risk profile was somewhat magnified. These findings suggest that the TG/HDL-C ratio may serve as a simple and clinically useful approach to identify apparently healthy, young individuals who are IR and at increased cardiometabolic risk.

Keywords: metabolic syndrome; triglyceride/high density lipoprotein cholesterol; young Mexicans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Distribution
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • Vascular Stiffness
  • Young Adult


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides