BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Few data are available on the burden of metabolic syndrome (MetS) among young children. We determined the prevalence of MetS and its components in children 6 to 12 years old in Al Ain, UAE.
As part of a global health project, “Developed and Developing Countries Partnership for Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Prevention,” 622 parents were invited to bring their children aged 6 to 12 years for assessment of NCD risk factors. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess sociodemographic characteristics, physical activity, and dietary habits. Blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, and plasma lipids were measured. BMI was calculated. Overweight was defined as BMI ≥85th and <95th percentile and obesity as BMI ≥95th percentile, according to 2000 Centers for Disease Control growth charts. We used waist circumference cutoff points (≥90th percentile) to define central obesity. MetS was defined according to the Adult Treatment Panel III criteria.
Of the 234 children (51.7% girls) surveyed, 11.1% were overweight and 13.3% were obese. The overall prevalence of MetS in children was 9.9%. The prevalence of MetS was higher (11.3%) in children aged 10 to 12 years than in those aged 6 to 9 years (8.3%). More girls (9.9%) had MetS than boys (7.9%). The burden of individual MetS components included central obesity (27.7%), hypertension (18.9%), dyslipidemia (6.84%), low high-density lipoproteins (47.7%), and high fasting blood sugar (1.7%).
The prevalence of the MetS is high among children in the UAE, particularly among girls. Of the individual components of MetS, central obesity in particular was very high.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics