Acanthosis nigricans in obese adolescents: prevalence, impact, and management challenges
- Hak Yung Ng
- Adolescent health, medicine and therapeutics
BACKGROUND Studies have suggested an association between the presence of acanthosis nigricans (AN) and the development of diabetes. OBJECTIVE To investigate the association between AN and insulin resistance (IR) in overweight children and adolescents receiving care at the Center for Childhood Obesity, Campina Grande, PB. METHODS This cross-sectional study was conducted between April 2009 and April 2010 including 194 individuals of 2 to 18 years of age receiving care within the Brazilian national health network. The presence of acanthosis nigricans was verified and anthropometric measurements were taken. The following tests were performed: insulin, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, glucose and homeostasis model of assessment - insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS software program, version 17.0. RESULTS There was a greater prevalence of females (66%), brown-skinned individuals (63.4%), adolescents (61.3%) and severely obese individuals (66.5%). Acanthosis nigricans was identified in 58.2% and IR in 42.7% of the participants. Acanthosis nigricans was associated with being non-white (p = 0.003), with being an adolescent (p = 0.003) and with IR (p = 0.001). Non-white individuals, adolescents and those with insulin resistance were 5.4, 2.47 and 2.66 times more likely to have acanthosis nigricans, respectively. CONCLUSION The results of this study indicate a need to train healthcare professionals to identify acanthosis nigricans, since this condition is associated with IR. Identifying acanthosis nigricans in childhood permits the safe and timely treatment of cardiometabolic disorders through careful monitoring and appropriate treatment.