BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
We assessed the distribution of risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome in a group of obese Saudi children and adolescents. No previous studies had addressed this issue in the Saudi pediatric population.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS:
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients evaluated for obesity between 2004 and 2008 and collected data on age, weight, height, body mass index (BMI), BP, fasting lipid profile, fasting glucose, insulin concentrations, and insulin resistance based on the homeostasis assessment model-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) score. Obesity was defined as a BMI above the 95th percentile for age and gender and metabolic syndrome was diagnosed according to standard criteria.
We studied 57 obese Saudi children and adolescents with a mean (standard deviation) age of 9.8 (3.5) years. Mean weight and body mass index (BMI) were 63.7 (28.3) kg and 31.6 (8.0) kg/m2, respectively. Systolic BP was elevated in 24 (42%) of the 57 subjects. Of the 39 children who had a lipid profile in their records, 10 had hypertriglyceridemia, 8 had hypercholesterolemia, 6 had elevated LDL cholesterol levels, and 6 had low HDL cholesterol levels. Impaired fasting glucose was found in 10 of 38 patients in which it was measured, and 9 of 25 patients had fasting hyperinsulinemia. Eleven of 37 patients (29.7%) met the diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome. Diastolic BP correlated positively with BMI (r=0.440, P=.001), and HDL cholesterol correlated negatively with weight and BMI (r=−0.487, P=.002 and r=−0.317, P=.05). HOMA-IR correlated positively with BMI and triglyceride levels and negatively with HDL cholesterol levels.
Obese Saudi children and adolescents have multiple risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.