Background: Using telemedicine in the school setting in Greece, we screened a representative adolescent sample for MetS (International Diabetes Federation criteria) and explored its associations with anthropometric, sociodemographic and behavioural parameters.
Materials and methods: Cross-sectional data were obtained from 12- to 17-year-old high school students.
Results: The prevalence of MetS in 1578 adolescents (mean age ± SD 14.4 ± 1.7 years) was 2.6% (3.4% among males; 2.0% among females), highest (4.3%) at age 13 years and lowest (1.3%) at 16 years. Adolescents with MetS had significantly higher mean body mass index (BMI) ± SD than those without MetS (30.2 ± 4.2 vs 21.3 ± 3.2 kg/m2 , respectively; P < 0.001); among participants with obesity, 31.6% had MetS. Abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, impaired fasting blood glucose (FBG) and elevated blood pressure (BP) were detected in 9.5%, 2.3%, 10.7%, 25.9% and 21.8% of participants, respectively. Additional analysis (modified NCEP:ATPIII youth criteria) demonstrated similar overall prevalence of MetS (2.9%). Statistically significant correlations were found between most anthropometric and MetS characteristics, with the exception of FBG, which was correlated only with systolic BP. BMI was strongly correlated with waist and hip circumferences (r = 0.818, P < 0.001; r = 0.825, P < 0.001, respectively). Single parenthood and older maternal age (>60 years) were risk factors for MetS. Although counterintuitive, body image distortion, body dissatisfaction and bullying about weight were more prevalent in normal weight girls.
Conclusions: The overall prevalence of MetS was low but 12-fold higher when obesity was taken into account. Impaired FBG and elevated BP were the most prevailing features. Telemedicine services were used effectively in Greek schools for screening youth MetS.
Keywords: Greek schools; adolescents; metabolic syndrome; obesity; prevalence; telemedicine.
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