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J Pediatr. 2008 Feb;152(2):165-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.06.004. Epub 2007 Oct 22.

Metabolic syndrome rates in United States adolescents, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2002.

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Division of General Pediatrics and Strong Children's Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York.



To report the prevalence rates of the metabolic syndrome in a nationally representative sample of adolescents in the United States using 4 previously reported definitions of the syndrome.


Data from 12- to 19-year-old adolescents included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2002 (NHANES 99-02) were analyzed by cross-sectional methods, by using 4 definitions of the metabolic syndrome previously applied to adolescents.


In NHANES 99-02, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in all teens varied from 2.0% to 9.4% of teens in the United States, depending on the definition used. In obese teens, these prevalence rates varied from 12.4% to 44.2%. In the group of obese teens, application of the definition by Cruz produced a metabolic syndrome prevalence rate of 12.4%; that of Caprio produced a rate of 14.1%. However, none of the normal weight or overweight teens met either definition. Application of the definition by Cook produced a prevalence rate of 7.8% in overweight teens and 44% in obese teens. The adult definition of metabolic syndrome produced a prevalence rate of 16% in overweight teens and 26% in obese teens.


In the period between 1999 and 2002, the prevalence rate of metabolic syndrome varied from just >9% to as low as 2% of adolescents overall. Different definitions of metabolic syndrome generated prevalence rates in obese adolescents that varied widely from 12% to 44%. For this syndrome to be a useful construct, a more standardized set of criteria may be needed.

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