Prevalence of metabolic syndrome and individual criterion in US adolescents: 2001-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2014 Dec;12(10):527-32. doi: 10.1089/met.2014.0055. Epub 2014 Sep 23.


Background: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome has increased in adolescents in previous years. The objectives of this study were to examine the prevalence in the past decade and the individual criteria in a nationally representative sample of US adolescents.

Methods: This study was a descriptive analysis of 3495 US adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 years using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2000-2010. Metabolic syndrome was defined as having three of the five following conditions: Waist circumference (WC),≥90(th) percentile (sex-specific); elevated resting blood pressure,≥90(th) percentile (age, height, sex-specific); elevated triglycerides (TGs); low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; and/or impaired fasting glucose.

Results: Approximately 73.2% of the participants had at least one criterion, with the estimated metabolic syndrome prevalence being 10.1%. Prevalence was higher in males than females (13.0% vs. 6.4%, P<0.05). Both Hispanic males and females had significantly greater odds of metabolic syndrome. Abnormal WC and abnormal TG levels were the most common individual criteria; in comparison, abnormal blood pressure was the least common across racial ethnic backgrounds.

Conclusions: An estimated one in 10 US adolescents has metabolic syndrome. These findings have important public health implications due to the known cardiovascular disease risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Child
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / ethnology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference
  • Whites
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides