Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



As the prevalence of obesity among children has risen, metabolic syndrome, a cluster of abnormalities which includes obesity, altered glucose metabolism, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, has increasingly become recognized in the pediatric population. Metabolic syndrome has been studied extensively in adults, and there is increasing interest to understand the condition in adolescents; however, studies of metabolic syndrome in younger children are limited. The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its individual components among children aged 6-10 years. Demographic, anthropometric, and biochemical data were gathered retrospectively from the medical records of 222 obese children aged 6-10 years who were seen as new patients in a hospital-based clinic for management of obesity and related conditions. The results of this study suggest that the study population is at high risk of morbidity; 77.9% of subjects had at least one metabolic abnormality in addition to obesity, and 27.9% of subjects in this study had metabolic syndrome. This study found a high risk of elevated systolic blood pressure and elevated fasting insulin in the study population, with 63.1% of subjects having prehypertension or hypertension and 40.1% of subjects having elevated fasting insulin. The results of this study suggest that current recommendations for screening of metabolic abnormalities in obese school-age children are not sufficiently aggressive. Current standards of practice do not include assessment for metabolic syndrome components in children under the age of 10 years, with the exception of blood pressure. The prevalence of impaired glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia, however, is significant in this population, and screening for these abnormalities in children under the age of 10 is warranted.