Metabolic syndrome in youth: a cross-sectional school-based survey

Authors

  • Dirk Vissers,

    1. University College of Antwerp, Department of Health Sciences—Physiotherapy, Antwerp, Belgium
    2. University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
    3. Antwerp University Hospital, Department of Diabetology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition, Antwerp, Belgium
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  • Christel Vanroy,

    1. University College of Antwerp, Department of Health Sciences—Physiotherapy, Antwerp, Belgium
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  • An De Meulenaere,

    1. University College of Antwerp, Department of Health Sciences—Physiotherapy, Antwerp, Belgium
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  • Annemie Van de Sompel,

    1. Antwerp University Hospital, Department of Diabetology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition, Antwerp, Belgium
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  • Steven Truijen,

    1. University College of Antwerp, Department of Health Sciences—Physiotherapy, Antwerp, Belgium
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  • Luc Van Gaal

    1. University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
    2. Antwerp University Hospital, Department of Diabetology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition, Antwerp, Belgium
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Correspondence
Dirk Vissers, Van Aertselaerstraat 31, 2170 Merksem, Belgium. Tel: 00-32-3-641-82-65 | Fax: 00-32-3-641-82-70 | Email: d.vissers@ha.be

Abstract

Aim: To assess the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) among students attending vocational secondary school (VSE). VSE provides practice-oriented education in which young people learn a specific occupation. Previously we reported VSE to be the type of education with the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity.

Methods: All data were collected in a cross-sectional school-based survey. Subjects were recruited from a community sample of 869 adolescents in 14 secondary schools. In this total sample all components of the metabolic syndrome were assessed in a subgroup of 506 students. MetS was defined analogous to National Cholesterol Education Program: Adult Treatment Panel III criteria, with modifications for students under 19 years of age.

Results: In the subsample (n = 506) 4.1% of the students had metabolic syndrome. There was a significant difference in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome among BMI categories (p < 0.001). The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was higher in obese students (39.1%) than in overweight students (2.8%) and normal weight students (0.3%).

Conclusion: Being overweight or obese substantially increases the risk for metabolic syndrome, even in an adolescent school population.

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