Aim: To estimate the prevalence and distribution of the metabolic syndrome and to determine the risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome in secondary school adolescents.
Methods: In 2006, we conducted a school-based survey in Beijing, China. Questionnaire data, anthropometric, blood pressure, and biochemical measurements were available for 2020 adolescents aged 14–16 years. The metabolic syndrome was assessed using the National Cholesterol Education Program's (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) criteria modified for age.
Results: The overall prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among adolescents was 3.3%. In Beijing, 4.2% of boys and 2.5% of girls were affected (p < 0.05). The syndrome was present in 28.1% of obese adolescents compared with 6.0% of overweight and 0.2% of normal status (p < 0.001). Abdominal obesity and elevated blood pressure were the most common components of the metabolic syndrome in boys, and elevated triglyceride (TG) and abdominal obesity were the most common in girls. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was influenced by body mass index (BMI) status, father's educational degree and pubertal development.
Conclusion: The metabolic syndrome and its components are frequent in overweight and obese adolescents in Beijing. Early identification and treatment of these risk factors may help target intervention to improve future cardiovascular health.