• Adolescents;
  • Body mass index;
  • Chinese;
  • Diagnostic criteria;
  • Metabolic syndrome


Aim: The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has recently proposed a new set of criteria to define metabolic syndrome (MES) in children and adolescents. We estimated the rate of MES by these new IDF criteria and investigated the use of body mass index (BMI) in predicting MES in Chinese adolescents.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional, population-based study of 1616 Chinese adolescents. sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratio were calculated to assess the accuracy in using BMI to predict the presence of MES.

Results: In the study population, 48.6% were boys. The median age was 14.0 and 15.0 years for boys and girls respectively and the overall prevalence of MES was 1.2% (boys 1.5%; girls 0.8%). Using BMI ≥25 kg/m2, the sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratio to predict MES were 100%, 85.0% and 6.7% respectively. The corresponding figures were 52.6%, 97.1% and 18.1%, respectively, using BMI ≥30 kg/m2.

Conclusion: Metabolic syndrome was found in 1.2% of Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong. BMI is a useful clinical tool to predict clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors in adolescents.