Objective: To compare the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MS) in Turkish obese children and adolescents by using three different definitions and to assess the risk factors through a retrospective evaluation of anthropometric and laboratory parameters.
Methods: Sixty hundred and fourteen obese patients (307 male, 307 female; mean age: 11.3±2.5 years) were included in the study. Medical history, physical examination, anthropometric measurements, results of biochemical and hormonal assays were obtained from the hospital records. MS was diagnosed according to the modified World Health Organization (WHO), Cook and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) consensus criteria. Results: The prevalence of MS was found to be 39%, 34% and 33% according to the modified WHO, Cook and the IDF consensus criteria, respectively. MS prevalence in patients aged 12-18 years was significantly higher than that in patients between 7 and 11 years of age (p<0.05). Pubertal patients had a significantly higher MS prevalence than the non-pubertal cases (p<0.05). MS prevalence was also significantly higher in children who had a family history of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension as well as in those who had not been breast-fed (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The use of the modified WHO criteria was found to result in a slightly higher prevalence rate for MS as compared to the other criteria. The prevalence of MS in our study population was higher than that reported in most previous studies in Turkey. A positive family history, puberty and not being breastfed in infancy were shown to be significant risk factors for MS in childhood.