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Dr. Alamian, in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, is leading a team of faculty and students (from Nursing, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Public Health, Physical Therapy, and Early Childhood Development) to study the natural history of Metabolic Syndrome among Hispanic children in Northeast, Tennessee. Metabolic Syndrome is the constellation of such risk factors as elevated body mass, high blood pressure, increased blood lipids, and glucose intolerance and is possibly the most prevalent cause of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the United States. It has, however, not been extensively studied in children. Risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome are detectable early in life and are known to track to adulthood.

The Hispanic community is at higher risk for developing Metabolic Syndrome, and the community has seen an increasing trend towards youth obesity. It is vital to study the natural history of Metabolic Syndrome in Hispanics so that effective preventive measures can be developed and tailored to the needs and characteristics of this high risk population. About 150 Hispanic children between 2 and 10 years of age will be enrolled into the study during routine annual well-child visits at Johnson City Community Health Center. Anthropometric data and standard labs (CBC, lipid, and metabolic panels), will be conducted, and serum samples stored for future testing. The child's caretaker will complete validated health and lifestyle questionnaires and nutrition intake survey instruments. Information collected will be used to estimate the prevalence of, and identify, risk factors for metabolic syndrome among Hispanic children in Northeast, Tennessee. This initial cohort may help direct future research efforts.