Differential impact of obesity on glucose metabolism in black and white American adolescents

Am J Med Sci. 1998 Dec;316(6):361-7. doi: 10.1097/00000441-199812000-00002.


Background: The authors have previously demonstrated abnormalities in glucose and insulin metabolism in nondiabetic black American (BA) adults versus white American (WA) adults. Whether similar glucoregulatory alterations extend to BA adolescents remain unknown. In addition, obesity, a known risk factor for insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, occurs in a greater proportion of BA adults and children when compared to WA. The objective of the present study was to examine the differential effects of obesity on glucose homeostasis in BA and WA adolescents.

Methods: We examined glucose homeostasis in BA and WA adolescents using oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT), and [6,6-2H2]-glucose infusion. The study consisted of four age-, sex-, and pubertal stage-matched groups: 15 lean BA, 29 lean WA, 7 obese BA, and 9 obese WA.

Results: Both obese groups had significantly increased insulin and C-peptide area under the curve (AUC) during OGTT and IVGTT when compared to their same-race lean counterparts. During OGTT, obese BA demonstrated greater insulin and C-peptide when compared to obese WA. During IVGTT, first- and second-phase insulin were significantly greater in obese BA versus obese WA.

Conclusion: In summary, BA adolescents demonstrated insulin resistance which is markedly exaggerated in the face of obesity when compared to WA adolescents, implying a differential impact for obesity on glucose homeostasis that is unique to the obese BA adolescent group. In conclusion, there is a need for early aggressive weight management in obese BA adolescents.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Insulin