Purpose: Childhood obesity is one of the major concerns in the last years due to the association with future health problems and all-cause mortality. However, there is a subset of adolescents with overweight/obesity who present a metabolic healthy profile. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of metabolically healthy but overweight/obese adolescents and whether sedentary time, physical activity, and fitness differ between metabolically healthy and nonmetabolically healthy phenotypes.
Methods: A subsample of 237 European adolescents from the HEalthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study (n = 3,528, participation rate: 61.3%) with overweight/obesity were included. The study sample was not fully representative for the European adolescent population. Based on sex- and age-specific metabolic syndrome cutoff points for triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure, and high-density cholesterol participants were classified as metabolically healthy or nonmetabolically healthy. Sedentary time, physical activity, and fitness were assessed by accelerometry and the Alpha battery, respectively.
Results: The prevalence of metabolically healthy status in adolescents with overweight and obesity was higher in girls (87%) than in boys (74%, p = .019), being similar when only obesity was considered. Sedentary time was lower in metabolically healthy overweight/obese than in nonmetabolically healthy participants (mean difference = 48.0 minutes, p = .012). Moderate and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were higher (p's < .05) in metabolically healthy than in nonmetabolically healthy adolescents with overweight/obesity (mean difference = 7.9 min/day and 10.9 min/day, respectively). No significant differences were found in fitness. Overall, these results persisted when only adolescents with obesity were included in the analyses.
Conclusions: Metabolically healthy adolescents with overweight/obesity are less sedentary and more active than their nonmetabolically healthy peers with overweight/obesity, yet consistent differences in fitness were not observed.
Keywords: Children; MHO; Metabolic status; Nonmetabolically healthy; Youth; non-MHO.
Copyright © 2017 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.