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Metabolic Syndrome and its Risk Factors among Overweight and Obese Palestinian Schoolchildren using IDF and NCEP-ATP/III Definitions

Background: Warning signs of metabolic syndrome (MetS) can appear during childhood. Early detection and treatment of MetS is likely to reduce morbidity and mortality in adulthood and help to keep to minimum the global burden of cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes. This study aimed to establish the prevalence and to characterize metabolic syndrome and its individual components among overweight and obese Palestinian schoolchildren aged 6-<18 years in the West Bank.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in the West Bank-Palestine in the year 2014. Out of the 840 schoolchildren, 216 (30.7%) were overweight and obese; 146 of them were evaluated for MetS using the International Diabetes Federation and modified National Cholesterol Education Program-Third Adult Treatment Panel definitions.

Results: Using NCEP criteria, MetS was significantly more prevalent in overweight and obese children (23.3%) than IDF (15.8%) and among boys (22.2% for NCEP vs 12.3% for IDF) and girls (23.3% for NCEP vs 20.0% for IDF). No sex-specific differences in the prevalence of MetS between age groups were determined using both criteria. The prevalence of individual MetS components according the IDF and NCEP criteria were respectively; (32% and 25.3%) for increased waist circumference, (15.8% and 37.0%) for increased blood pressure, (9.7% and 24.8%) for increased triglyceride, (57.2% and 55.9%) for low HDL, and (39.7% and 15.8%) for increased fast blood sugar. Clustering of metabolic abnormalities had significantly increased by increasing body mass index and waist circumferences, and with decreased HDL and elevated triglyceride.

Conclusions: The prevalence of MetS among overweight and obese Palestinian schoolchildren is high with dyslipidemia being the most common MetS abnormality. Regardless the definition used to diagnose MetS among children; the findings of this study present a serious threat to current and future health of Palestinian children.


Basma Damiri, Amjad Abu Alhala, Lana Najjar and Saleh Alqadome

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