Cardiometabolic health in adolescence and its association with educational outcomes

J Epidemiol Community Health. 2019 Dec;73(12):1071-1077. doi: 10.1136/jech-2019-212256. Epub 2019 Oct 1.


Aim: To explore the association of selected cardiometabolic biomarkers and metabolic syndrome (MetS) with educational outcomes in adolescents from Chile.

Methods: Of 678 participants, 632 (52% males) met criteria for the study. At 16 years, waist circumference (WC), systolic blood pressure, triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein and glucose were measured. A continuous cardiometabolic risk score (zMetS) using indicators of obesity, lipids, glucose and blood pressure was computed, with lower values denoting a healthier cardiometabolic profile. MetS was diagnosed with the International Diabetes Federation/American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute joint criteria. Data on high school (HS) graduation, grade point average (GPA), college examination rates and college test scores were collected. Data were analysed controlling for sociodemographic, lifestyle and educational confounders.

Result: zMetS, WC, TG and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance at 16 years were negatively and significantly associated with the odds of completing HS and taking college exams. Notably, for a one-unit increase in zMetS, we found 52% (OR: 0.48, 95% CI 0.227 to 0.98) and 39% (OR: 0.61, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.93) reduction in the odds of HS completion and taking college exams, respectively. The odds of HS completion and taking college exams in participants with MetS were 37% (95% CI 0.14 to 0.98) and 33% (95% CI 0.15 to 0.79) that of participants with no cardiometabolic risk factors. Compared with adolescents with no risk factors, those with MetS had lower GPA (515 vs 461 points; p=0.002; Cohen's d=0.55). Adolescents having the MetS had significantly lower odds of passing the mathematics exam for college compared with peers with no cardiometabolic risk factors (OR: 0.49; 95% CI 0.16 to 0.95).

Conclusion: In Chilean adolescents, cardiometabolic health was associated with educational outcomes.

Keywords: adolescents cg; cardiovascular disease; cognition; health promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Success*
  • Adolescent
  • Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
  • Chile
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Social Class*