Aim: Metabolic syndrome represents a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and we investigated whether otherwise healthy 6-year-olds showed metabolic alterations.
Methods: This study followed up a representative Swedish population-based cohort of full-term infants recruited on the maternity ward at Hallands Hospital Halmstad, Sweden, from 2008 to 2011. They were examined at a mean of 6.6 years of age (range 6.5-6.9) using various measures for signs of metabolic syndrome.
Results: One key measure showed that 55 (26%) of the 212 children had one or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome requiring action. The 37 who were obese (3%) or overweight (14%) were significantly more likely to be insulin resistant than the normal weight group (28% versus 5%, p < 0.001) and have high triglycerides (8% versus 0%, p < 0.001). Children with high waist circumferences had higher systolic (p = 0.01) and diastolic (p = 0.02) blood pressure than those with normal waist circumferences. Waist circumference identified children at high risk of metabolic syndrome better than body mass index.
Conclusion: A significant percentage of 6-year-old children showed abnormal metabolic profiles, including insulin resistance, which increased their risk of cardiovascular disease. Waist circumference was a stronger marker for metabolic alterations than body mass index.
Keywords: Childhood obesity; High blood pressure; High-density lipoprotein cholesterol; Insulin resistance; Triglycerides.
©2018 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.