Relation between Serum Free Fatty Acids and Adiposity, Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Risk Factors from Adolescence to Adulthood

  1. Alan R Sinaiko, MD*,
  1. *Department of Pediatrics, Medical School and
  2. Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States.
  1. Corresponding author: Brigitte Frohnert frohn001{at}


The objective of this study was to describe longitudinal relations of serum total free fatty acids (FFA) to insulin resistance (IR) and cardiovascular (CV) risk factors from adolescence into adulthood. The cohort included participants in a longitudinal study of obesity and IR with complete data, including anthropometric measures, FFA, IR measured by euglycemic clamp, blood pressure, fasting serum lipids and insulin at mean-ages 15 and 22 (N=207) and their parents (N=272). FFA and IR were not significantly related at mean-age 15 but were significantly related at mean-age 22. FFA did not relate to BMI at either age. FFA at age 15 estimated IR at age 22. In parents (mean-age 51) FFA was significantly correlated with BMI, percent body fat, systolic blood pressure, LDL, and IR. Associations with all risk factors except IR in parents were attenuated by adjustment for BMI. Most age 22 correlations with parents were higher than corresponding age 15 correlations. This study finds that FFA is associated with IR starting in young adulthood. The relation between FFA and CV risk factors does not become significant until later adulthood. The results support a significant impact of early metabolic dysfunction on later CV risk.

  • Received August 20, 2012.
  • Accepted May 6, 2013.

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