Mexican American children have differential elevation of metabolic biomarkers proportional to obesity status

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 Dec;57(6):718-21. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182a6993d.


Objectives: There is a health disparity for obesity among Mexican Americans compared with other racial/ethnic groups. In particular, Mexican American children who are obese are likely to become obese adults. The purpose of this study was to examine traditional and nontraditional risk factors in a subset of Mexican American children before their participation in a larger clinical weight loss study.

Methods: Venous blood samples were collected from self-identified Mexican American children (12-14 years old) who were assigned to 1 of 3 weight groups based on their standardized body mass index; normal weight (N = 66), overweight (N = 23), or obese (N = 39). Serum was analyzed for interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, C-peptide, ghrelin, glucagon-like protein, gastric inhibitory polypeptide-1, glucagon, insulin, leptin, macrophage chemoattractant protein 1, and pancreatic polypeptide using a Luminex MagPix-based assay. Total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose were analyzed using enzymatic assays. Data were analyzed for significance using separate analysis of variance tests, with significance set at P < 0.05.

Results: Relative to normal weight and overweight children, obese children had significantly elevated C-peptide (P < 0.0001), insulin (P < 0.0001), leptin (P < 0.0001), macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (P = 0.005), and tumor necrosis factor-α (P = 0.006).

Conclusions: We observed that Mexican American children as a function of body weight had elevated serum concentrations of several biomarkers that have been linked to chronic disease development in adults. More research is needed to understand how these differences affect disease risk in adulthood.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Chemokine CCL2 / blood*
  • Child
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Macrophages
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Overweight / blood
  • Overweight / ethnology
  • Peptide Hormones / blood*
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Cytokines
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin
  • Lipids
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • C-Reactive Protein