Background: Overweight and metabolic syndrome are emerging in both adult and pediatric populations.
Aims: To study the prevalence and associated risk factors of the metabolic syndrome, using the National Cholesterol Education Program definition, among Hong Kong Chinese adolescents studying in secondary schools.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional, population- based study. A cohort of 2115 Chinese adolescents was randomly selected from 14 secondary schools, throughout Hong Kong. Data on anthropometric parameters, fasting blood and urine samples were collected in the school setting. Information regarding the adolescent's family history of diabetes, perinatal history, socio-economic status and school grading were evaluated.
Results: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 2.4% (95% CI: 1.8-3.1) with no significant difference between boys (2.9%) and girls (2.0%). The prevalence of various components of metabolic syndrome was 32.2% (30.2- 34.2) for hypertension, 10.9% (9.6-12.2) for elevated triglyceride, 9.0% (7.8-10.2) for central adiposity, 2.4% (1.7-3.0) for low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and 0.3% (0.1-0.6) for impaired fasting glucose. On multivariate analysis, overweight [odds ratio (95%) = 32.2 (13.2-78.4)], positive family history of diabetes [4.3 (1.3-14.1)] and studying at schools of lower academic grading [5.5 (2.2-13.7)] were independent risk factors for the metabolic syndrome.
Conclusion: We observed a comparable prevalence of metabolic syndrome in our Chinese adolescent girls (2.0%) with that in US (2.1%) but lower prevalence in Chinese boys (2.9%) than those in US (6.1%). In our study, 41.8% harbor at least one component of the syndrome. Both families and schools should be alerted to this growing epidemic.
- glucose intolerance
- metabolic syndrome