Context: Adult women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have an increased prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MBS). The prevalence of MBS is also increasing in adolescents.
Objective: Our objective was to test the hypothesis that the prevalence of MBS is increased in adolescent girls with PCOS compared with the general population and to determine the factors associated with an increased risk of the MBS in PCOS.
Design and setting: We conducted a cross-sectional case-control study at academic medical centers with general clinical research centers.
Participants: Participants included 49 adolescent girls with PCOS and 165 girls from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) adolescent population of similar age and ethnic background.
Main outcome measure: We assessed the prevalence of MBS according to currently proposed adolescent MBS criteria.
Results: Thirty-seven percent of adolescent girls with PCOS had MBS compared with 5% of NHANES III girls (P < 0.0001). None of the girls of normal body mass index (BMI) had MBS, whereas 11% of overweight and 63% of obese girls with PCOS had MBS compared with 0 and 32% of NHANES III girls, respectively. Girls with PCOS were 4.5 times more likely to have MBS than age-matched NHANES III girls after adjusting for BMI (odds ratio, 4.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-17.7; P = 0.03). The odds of having the MBS were 3.8 times higher for every quartile increase in bioavailable testosterone in girls with PCOS after adjusting for BMI and insulin resistance (odds ratio, 3.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-10.2; P = 0.008).
Conclusions: Adolescent girls with PCOS have a higher prevalence of MBS than the general adolescent population. Hyperandrogenemia is a risk factor for MBS independent of obesity and insulin resistance.