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Acta Paediatr. 2019 Mar;108(3):486-492. doi: 10.1111/apa.14599. Epub 2018 Oct 17.

Longitudinal birth cohort study found that a significant proportion of children had abnormal metabolic profiles and insulin resistance at 6 years of age.

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Department of Pediatrics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Pediatrics, Hallands Hospital Halmstad, Halmstad, Sweden.
Primary Health Care Unit, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Child Health Care Team, Halmstad, Sweden.



Metabolic syndrome represents a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and we investigated whether otherwise healthy 6-year-olds showed metabolic alterations.


This study followed up a representative Swedish population-based cohort of full-term infants recruited on the maternity ward at Hallands Hospital Halmstad, Sweden, from 2008 to 2011. They were examined at a mean of 6.6 years of age (range 6.5-6.9) using various measures for signs of metabolic syndrome.


One key measure showed that 55 (26%) of the 212 children had one or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome requiring action. The 37 who were obese (3%) or overweight (14%) were significantly more likely to be insulin resistant than the normal weight group (28% versus 5%, p < 0.001) and have high triglycerides (8% versus 0%, p < 0.001). Children with high waist circumferences had higher systolic (p = 0.01) and diastolic (p = 0.02) blood pressure than those with normal waist circumferences. Waist circumference identified children at high risk of metabolic syndrome better than body mass index.


A significant percentage of 6-year-old children showed abnormal metabolic profiles, including insulin resistance, which increased their risk of cardiovascular disease. Waist circumference was a stronger marker for metabolic alterations than body mass index.


Childhood obesity; High blood pressure; High-density lipoprotein cholesterol; Insulin resistance; Triglycerides


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