Overweight, family history of diabetes and attending schools of lower academic grading are independent predictors for metabolic syndrome in Hong Kong Chinese adolescents

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Abstract

Background:

Overweight and metabolic syndrome (MES) are emerging in both adult and paediatric populations.

Aims:

To study the prevalence of and associated risk factors for the MES, 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 sample 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, socioeconomic status and school grading was evaluated.

Results:

The prevalence of MES was 2.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8 to 3.1), with no significant difference between boys (2.9%) and girls (2%). The prevalence of various components of MES was 32.2% (30.2 to 34.2) for hypertension, 10.9% (9.6 to 12.2) for increased triglyceride, 9.0% (7.8 to 10.2) for central adiposity, 2.4% (1.7 to 3) for low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and 0.3% (0.1 to 0.6) for impaired fasting glucose. On multivariate analysis, overweight (odds ratio 32.2; 95% CI 13.2 to 78.4), positive family history of diabetes (4.3; 1.3 to 14.1) and studying at schools of lower academic grading (5.5; 2.2 to 13.7) were found to be independent risk factors for MES.

Conclusion:

A comparable prevalence of MES (2%) is observed in our study group Chinese adolescent girls and in US girls (2.1%), but a lower prevalence in Chinese boys (2.9%) than in US boys (6.1%). In our study, 41.8% harbour at least one component of the syndrome. Both families and schools should be alerted to this growing epidemic.

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