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Metabolic Syndrome in Children Predicts Adult Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Participants who had metabolic syndrome as children were about 13 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease and 6.5 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than participants who did not have metabolic syndrome as children. 
A clustering of cardiovascular risk factors that define the metabolic syndrome in children is strongly associated with adult metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

These findings stem from a 25- to 30-year follow-up of 814 students who were between 5 and 19 years old when enrolled in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Lipid Research Clinics Princeton Prevalence Study between 1973 and 1976.

Established definitions for pediatric metabolic syndrome have not yet been established, so the researchers used the following parameters: triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dL and glucose levels of 110 mg/dL or greater were defined as high, while HDL-C levels of 50 mg/mL or lower among females and 40 mg/dL or lower among males were defined as low. BMI and systolic or diastolic blood pressure were defined as high if they exceeded the age-specific 90th percentile.

Dr. John A. Morrison of Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati stated that,  "In the follow-up study, participants who had metabolic syndrome as children were about 13 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease and 6.5 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than participants who did not have metabolic syndrome as children.

"Evaluating 5- to 19-year-old children for metabolic syndrome and family history of diabetes could identify children at increased risk of adult metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus, allowing prospective primary prevention of these outcomes," They concluded.

 
The finding that most children with the metabolic syndrome did not have cardiovascular disease or diabetes when they were 30 to 48 years old, Dr. Morrison commented, "reminds us that these outcomes are relatively rare in the late 30s and early 40s. However, it tells us that the people who had this cluster of factors were at much greater risk of having these outcomes."
"Obesity is strongly associated with insulin resistance, low levels of HDL, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. So it should not surprise us that people who were overweight as kids turn out to be overweight as adults -- and have high levels of all these factors and be at greater risk of the major outcomes associated with these factors," Dr. Morrison said.

The follow-up data also show that for each increase in the age-specific BMI percentile of 10 points, the risk of adult metabolic syndrome increased 24% -- but the opposite was true as well. For each decrease in the age-specific BMI percentile of 10 points, the risk of adult metabolic syndrome decreased 24%.

Source: Diabetes In Control: J Pediatr 2008;152:201-206.

 
 
 
 
 
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