The Prevalence and Distribution of Metabolic Syndrome Components in Hispanic Children in Northeast Tennessee: A Pilot Study

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Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease yet it has been little studied in Hispanic children of rural areas. This pilot study aimed to estimate the prevalence of MetS and its components (high waist circumference (WC), elevated blood pressure (BP), high triglycerides (TRI), low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and hyperglycemia) in a sample of Hispanic children aged 2 to 10 years from northeast Tennessee (TN). Between June and October 2015, 46 Hispanic children were recruited during their well-child visit at a community health center in Johnson City, TN. Anthropometric data, blood pressure readings, and a blood sample were collected. Descriptive statistics were used to estimate the prevalence of MetS and its components. Chi-squared test or Fisher’s exact test was used to test differences of proportions. Results showed that 41.3% of Hispanic children (mean age:6.8 years; SD:2.5) were overweight or obese (Body Mass index (BMI) for age and sex ≥85th percentile), 15.2% had a high WC (≥90th percentile for age and sex), 30.4% had elevated BP (systolic or diastolic BP for age, sex and height ≥90th percentile), 13.0% had low HDL (≤5th percentile for age and sex), and 45.6% had high TRI (≥95th percentile for age and sex). Overall, 17 (37%) children were negative for every component of MetS, 17 (37%) were positive for one component, 6 (13%) for two components, 5 (11%) for three components, and 1 (2%) for four components. The prevalence of MetS (≥3 components) was 13%. While the prevalence of MetS did not vary by sex, it tended to be higher (33.3%) in children aged 4 or younger than in 5 to 10 (12.1%) year olds (P=0.05). The prevalence of having 2 or more positivities for MetS was significantly higher among overweight/obese children than in children with lean weight (47.4% vs. 11.1%, P=0.03). Findings provide evidence that Hispanic children are at high risk for MetS. Prevention efforts should begin early and target children with elevated BMI.


Miami, FL

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