Background: Anthropometric measurements might be valuable tools for identifying children at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Objective: To compare the abilities of waist circumference (WC), BMI, and WC/height to identify children with insulin resistance in two indigenous communities from similar ethnic backgrounds, but living at different altitudes.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of 142 (66 f) indigenous school children (4-14 y) from San Antonio de los Cobres (SAC), 3,750 m above sea level, and 171 (86 f) from Chicoana (CH), 1,400 m, were assessed for weight, height, WC, glucose, and insulin levels. ROC curves were generated for BMI, WC, and WC/height, with HOMA-IR>III quartile as the dichotomous variable in both SAC and CH.

Results: There was not a significant difference in age between SAC and CH children (8. 9 vs. 9.3 years, respectively). However, SAC had a significantly lower z-BMI (-0.16 vs. 0.68), WC (59.8 vs. 67.3 cm), and WC/height (45.9 vs. 48.7) than CH. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was significantly lower in SAC than in CH (9.2% vs. 41.8%). Significant univariate association (P<0.05) was found between WC with insulin (r = 0.58), and HOMA-IR (r = 0.40); BMI with insulin (r = 0.51), and HOMA-IR (r = 0.37); and WC/height with insulin (r = 0.33), and HOMA-IR (r = 0.24). The areas under the ROC curve in SAC children were as following: WC= 0.81 ± 0.04 (95% CI 0.72-0.90), BMI= 0.80 ± 0.(95% CI 0.70-0.90), and WC/height= 0.71 ± 0.(95% CI 0.59-0.81). The areas under the ROC curve in CH children were as following: WC= 0.75 ± 0.(95% CI 0.66-0.85), BMI= 0.76 ± 0.(95% CI 0.67-0.85), and WC/height= 0.67 ± 0.(95% CI 0.56-0.79).

Conclusion: The prevalence of obesity was significantly lower in SAC than in CH probably due to high altitude-induced chronic hypoxia. However, WC and BMI were acceptable indicators for insulin resistance in both communities living at different altitudes; whereas WC/height was a fair indicator for insulin resistance.


V. Hirschler: None.

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