Acanthosis nigricans: A common finding in overweight youth

Wendy J. Brickman*, Helen J. Binns, Borko D. Jovanovic, Scott Kolesky, Anthony J. Mancini, Boyd E. Metzger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We evaluated the prevalence of acanthosis nigricans among urban youth. Youth (7-17 years) at nine pediatric practices completed surveys on demographics and family history of diabetes and had weight and height measured. Acanthosis nigricans was scored and digital photography of the neck performed. A total of 618 youth were included in the analysis: mean age 11.5 years; 51% female; 61% African American, 27% Hispanic, 12% Caucasian, and 32% with body mass index ≥95th percentile. Acanthosis was found in 19%, 23%, and 4% of the African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian youth, respectively, and in 62% of youth with a body mass index ≥98th percentile. Using multiple logistic regression, we found increasing body mass index z-score, presence of maternal gestational diabetes, female gender, and not being Caucasian each were independently associated with acanthosis nigricans. Acanthosis was common among overweight youth and was associated with risk factors for glucose homeostasis abnormalities. Acanthosis nigricans can be a trigger to counsel families on its causes and consequences; and thus motivate them to make healthy lifestyle changes that can decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-606
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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