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Type 2 diabetes markers in indigenous Argentinean children living at different altitudes
Running title: Type 2 diabetes markers in children at different altitudes

Valeria Hirschler Gustavo Maccallini Claudia Molinari Mariana Hidalgo Patricia Intersimone Claudio Gonzalez

*Corresponding author: Valeria Hirschler vhirschler@intramed.net;vhirschler@gmail.com


Background: Exposure to hypoxia at high altitude is increasingly being recognized as a risk factor for metabolic diseases. Objective: To determine the association between Type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk factors and altitude in two groups of Argentinean indigenous schoolchildren who live permanently at different altitudes. Methods: This cross-sectional study compared 142 schoolchildren from San Antonio de los Cobres (SAC), 3750 m above sea level, with 171 from Chicoana (CH), 1400 m. Data for children’s anthropometry, blood pressure and lipids, as well as mothers’ height and weight were assessed. Results: There was not a significant difference in age between SAC (9.0 + 2y) and CH (9.4 + 2y) children. However, mean children’s weight (29 vs. 38 kg), height (130 vs. 138 cm), BMI (17 vs. 19 kg/m2), and HDL-C (46 vs. 48 mg/dL) were significantly lower in SAC than in CH, respectively. In contrast, systolic blood pressure (87 vs. 70 mmHg), cholesterol (157 vs. 148 mg/dL), and triglycerides (104 vs. 88 mg/dL) were significantly higher in SAC than in CH, respectively. There was not a significant difference in age (33.2 + 7y vs. 34.4 + 8y) and BMI (26.2 + 4y vs. 28 + 5y) between SAC and CH mothers. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that children’s blood pressure (R2 = 0.38), triglycerides (R2 = 0.21), and HDL-C (R2 = 0.16) were significantly associated with altitude, adjusted for confounding variables. Conclusion: This study shows that indigenous Argentinean children living at 3750 meters have higher T2D risk compared with those living at 1400 meters above sea level.

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