Comparison of various maternal anthropometric indices of obesity for identifying metabolic syndrome in offspring

V Hirschler, C Molinari, M Beccaria, G Maccallini, C Aranda
Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics 2010, 12 (4): 297-305

BACKGROUND: Several maternal anthropometric markers have been associated with the metabolic syndrome (MS) in offspring. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine the association between children's MS and maternal anthropometric markers such as body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), WC/height, weight/sitting height squared, and WC/sitting height and (2) to compare the abilities of these five indices to identify children with MS.

METHODS: Data were collected cross-sectionally from five elementary schools between April 2007 and March 2008. BMI, WC, WC/height, weight/sitting height squared, and WC/sitting height were acquired in mothers and their children. Tanner stage, blood pressure, glucose, lipids, and insulin were measured in children. Criteria analogous to Adult Treatment Panel III for MS were used for children.

RESULTS: Of 624 children (307 boys) 8.96 +/- 1.86 years old, with their mothers being 36.25 +/- 7.14 years old, examined, 107 (17.1%) of children were obese (BMI >95th percentile per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention norms), and 95 (15.2%) were overweight (OW) (85th percentile < or =BMI < 95th percentile). Of the mothers, 109 (30.4%) were obese (BMI > 30 kg/m(2)), and 206 (33.0%) were OW (25 kg/m(2) < BMI < 30 kg/m(2)). Approximately 68% of the children were prepubertal. The prevalence of MS was 3.5% overall: 6.7% in OW and 13.9% in obese children. To determine which marker was a better predictor for MS, a receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve was generated for the five maternal anthropometric measures, with children's MS as the dichotomous variable. The areas under the ROC curves were 0.697 +/- 0.07 for BMI, 0.698 +/- 0.07 for WC, 0.717 +/- 0.07 for WC/height, 0.725 +/- 0.07 for WC/sitting height, and 0.704 +/- 0.07 for weight/sitting height squared. There was no significant difference between the areas of the five maternal anthropometric markers as predictors of children's MS.

CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of maternal sitting height had no advantages over total height in the prediction of children's MS. All maternal anthropometric measures identified the MS in their children consistent with known familial associations of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

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