Objective: We estimated the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MS) in adolescents using the new International Diabetes Federation (IDF) paediatric definition and compared this with prevalence estimated using the IDF adult definition and five other previously published definitions.
Design: Cross-sectional survey in the prospective general population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (NFBC 1986) at age 16 years.
Setting: Birth cohort in Finland.
Participants: 5665 adolescents (2862 males and 2803 females) clinically examined in 2001-2002.
Main outcome measures: The prevalence of MS using different definitions.
Results: The overall prevalence of MS using the IDF paediatric definition was 2.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.0 to 2.8%) at the age of 16 years. Using the IDF adult definition the overall prevalence was lower, 1.7% (CI 1.3 to 2.0%, European cut-offs for waist circumference) and 1.0% (CI 0.7 to 1.3%, North American cut-offs).
Conclusion: In 16-year old adolescents, the paediatric IDF definition rendered a higher prevalence estimate than the adult definition.