Metabolic syndrome in childhood predicts adult metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus 25 to 30 years later

J Pediatr. 2008 Feb;152(2):201-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.09.010. Epub 2007 Nov 5.


Objective: To prospectively assess the association of the metabolic syndrome in childhood with adult metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) 25 to 30 years later.

Study design: Data from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Lipid Research Clinics (LRC) Princeton Prevalence Study (1973-1976) and the Princeton Follow-up Study (PFS, 2000-2004) were used. Body mass index (BMI = kg/m(2)) was used as the obesity measure in childhood because waist circumference was not measured at the LRC. The adult T2DM status of participants and their parents was obtained by participant report or fasting blood glucose >/=126 mg/dL. A logistic analysis for clustered samples was used to predict adult metabolic syndrome and T2DM, taking into account sibling correlations in the cohort. Pediatric metabolic syndrome, age at PFS, sex, race, change in BMI percentile, parental history of diabetes, and the interaction of pediatric metabolic syndrome and parental diabetes were explanatory variables.

Results: Ages ranged from 5 to 19 years in the LRC and from 30 to 48 years in the PFS. Pediatric metabolic syndrome, parental diabetes, age at follow-up, and change in age-specific BMI percentile were significant predictors of metabolic syndrome in adulthood, and pediatric metabolic syndrome, age at follow-up, black race, and parental diabetes were significant predictors of T2DM.

Conclusions: Evaluating 5- to 19-year-old children for metabolic syndrome and family history of diabetes could identify children at increased risk of adult metabolic syndrome and T2DM, allowing prospective primary prevention of these outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Complications / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome