Objective: To investigate the prevalence of distinct combinations of components of the metabolic syndrome among adolescents.
Design: A complex, multistage, stratified geographic area design for collecting representative data from the noninstitutionalized US population.
Setting: The NHANES, an ongoing surveillance of the nation's health conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Participants: Two thousand four hundred fifty-six Hispanic, white, and black adolescents aged 12 to 19 years observed in the 2001-2002, 2003-2004, and 2005-2006 NHANES data releases.
Main outcome measures: Metabolic syndrome was defined as having 3 or more disorders in the following measurements: waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein serum cholesterol, and glucose.
Results: About half of the participants had at least 1 disordered measurement, with an overall metabolic syndrome prevalence of 8.6% (95% confidence interval, 6.5%-10.6%). Prevalence was higher in males (10.8%) than females (6.1%), and in Hispanic (11.2%) and white (8.9%) individuals than in black individuals (4.0%). In black females, there was a high prevalence of a large waist circumference (23.3%), but no component of metabolic syndrome dominated its diagnosis in black adolescents of either sex. A large waist circumference and high fasting triglyceride and low high-density lipoprotein serum cholesterol concentrations were salient factors in Hispanic and white adolescents of both sexes; high glucose concentrations were prominent among Hispanic and white males.
Conclusion: The low prevalence of metabolic syndrome in black adolescents, in parallel with uniformly low prevalence of all 5 risk factors among those with metabolic syndrome, portend ethnic disparities in the time table for early onset of cardiometabolic disorders.