Metabolic syndrome in children - new insights for treatment

The same risk factors that predispose adults to diabetes manifest similarly in children, according to new research from the University of Eastern Finland.

There has been much controversy in the medical field when it comes to how metabolic syndrome, a set of risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, is defined in children. But this new research suggests that interventions used to treat the condition in adults should be the same when treating children.

Metabolic syndrome results in increased risk for premature death

Being overweight and having reduced muscle mass and lower-liver insulin sensitivity are some of the factors associated with metabolic syndrome in both adults and kids, the study suggests, and if no changes are made, premature death is the most likely outcome.

"The study showed that the components of metabolic syndrome cluster similarly in children and adults of different ages irrespective of sex," a press release on the study stated. "However, abdominal obesity was relatively less emphasized in children than in adults, and increased blood pressure was relatively more emphasized in middle-aged men than in children and older men and women."

Treatment should begin in childhood

The study also found that low metabolic risk factor scores are still detrimental in children, especially when there are several symptoms present. This suggests that scores for different risk factors, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, should be paid close attention in childhood.

"Lifestyle interventions begun in childhood and continuing into adulthood, combined with drug treatment when necessary, should constitute the primary method of reducing the overall risk," the release concluded.

The study included data on three population samples from eastern Finland, allowing researchers to examine how metabolic syndrome manifests in different age groups. More information about the research can be found in Diabetologia.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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