Obesity increases metabolic syndrome risk factors in school-aged children from an urban school in Mexico city

Otilia Perichart-Perera, Margie Balas-Nakash, Esther Schiffman-Selechnik, Annarella Barbato-Dosal, Felipe Vadillo-Ortega
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2007, 107 (1): 81-91

OBJECTIVE: To characterize the nutritional status of school-aged children from an urban public school in Mexico City, Mexico, and to assess the influence of obesity on health status in a subgroup of these children.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional descriptive study. A nutrition screening was done for all children, including anthropometric (ie, weight, height, and waist circumference) and blood pressure assessment. In the subgroup of children, complementary dietary and biochemical assessment (ie, glucose, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride, insulin, albumin, hemoglobin, and hematocrit levels) was done.

SUBJECTS: Children from an urban school in Mexico City (N=561) aged 6 to 13 years. The representative subgroup (n=88) was selected based on age (9 to 12 years) and weight status (ie, normal, overweight, or obese).

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Descriptive statistics, correlations, mean differences tests (analysis of variance, Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U), and chi(2) tests (categorical variables) were done with SPSS version 13 (2005, SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL).

RESULTS: In the whole school, overweight and obesity prevalence were 27.1% and 21.4%, respectively. High systolic blood pressure was seen in 8.4% of children and 6.2% of children had prehypertension. Higher hypertension risk was seen in children with body mass index > or =95th percentile and waist circumference > or =90th percentile (88 cm). Significantly higher waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, insulin resistance indexes, and triglyceride levels were found among the obese when compared with normal-weight children.

CONCLUSIONS: Childhood obesity prevalence is high in Mexico and it is having an influence on children's health. It is urgent to design, implement, and evaluate specific childhood obesity prevention programs.

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