metabolic syndrome in kids & adolescents

Sep 01, 2004

Food for Thought

With so much news about the obesity epidemic plaguing today’s kids, researchers recently set out to discover if there has been an increase in the number of cases of metabolic syndrome in this population. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), metabolic syndrome is a constellation of medical conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, that are thought to be caused by insulin resistance or glucose intolerance. The AHA estimates that approximately 20%–25% of American adults suffer from this condition.

Writing in the June 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers who examined 439 children and adolescents found that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome significantly increased with the severity of obesity. Sadly, 50% of the “severely obese” youngsters in the study had metabolic syndrome.

The researchers said they were surprised by these findings, which were much higher than expected. In fact, some of the children in the study had already developed “full-blown” diabetes. “Biomarkers of an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes are already present in these youngsters,” the study authors concluded.

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