The age-related patterns of clustering of cardiovascular risk variables of Syndrome X from childhood to adulthood were examined in a community-based sample of black and white children (aged 5-10 years, n = 2,389), adolescents (aged 11-17 years, n = 3,371), and young adults (aged 18-37 years, n = 2,115). In the analysis of clustering, insulin resistance index, BMI, triglycerides/ HDL cholesterol ratio, and mean arterial pressure were used either as categorical variables (age-, race- and sex-specific values >75th percentiles) to calculate risk ratios (observed frequency/expected frequency) or as continuous variables (normal scores based on ranks) to compute intraclass correlations. In the total sample, the risk ratio for clustering of adverse levels of all 4 variables was 9.8 for whites (P < 0.01) versus 7.4 for blacks (P < 0.01); the intraclass correlation was 0.33 for whites (P < 0.001) versus 0.26 for blacks (P < 0.001). Both the risk ratio and intraclass correlation were significantly higher in whites than in blacks in the total sample. The intraclass correlations of the 4 variables were significant (P < 0.001) in all race and age-groups, and they were higher during preadolescence and adulthood than during adolescence. Furthermore, unlike risk ratios, intraclass correlations showed a continuous increase with age during adulthood. When BMI was adjusted, the intraclass correlations involving the other 3 variables were reduced by approximately 50%, and the age-related pattern was no longer evident. These results suggest that the degree of clustering of risk variables of Syndrome X varies with age from childhood to adulthood and is likely influenced by the age-related changes in obesity and the attendant insulin resistance.

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