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The Metabolic Syndrome and C-Reactive Protein Among U.S. Youth

If adults with the metabolic syndrome show biochemical evidence of low-grade inflammation, do children?

Data was used from 1,366 participants aged 12-17 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2000. A modification of the definition of the metabolic syndrome proposed by the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults was used. C-reactive protein (CRP) was measured by latex-enhanced nephelometry.

The results showed that mean and median concentrations of CRP were higher among participants who had the metabolic syndrome (mean 3.8 mg/l, geometric mean 1.8 mg/l) than among those who did not (mean 1.4 mg/l, geometric mean 0.4 mg/l). The percentage of participants with a concentration of CRP >3.0 mg/l was 38.4% among those with the metabolic syndrome and 10.3% among those without the syndrome ( P = 0.007). Of the five components of the syndrome, only abdominal obesity was significantly and independently associated with log-transformed concentrations of CRP in multiple linear regression analysis.

Studies have previously demonstrated that adults with the metabolic syndrome show evidence of low-grade inflammation. From the results of the study it has been shown that children and adolescents with the metabolic syndrome are more likely than those without this syndrome to show evidence of low-grade inflammation. The percentage of children and adolescents with an elevated concentration of CRP (>3.0 mg/l) was almost four times higher among those with the metabolic syndrome compared with those who did not have the syndrome. However, abdominal obesity was the component that was responsible for much of the difference in concentrations of CRP.

Our results suggest that the presence of the metabolic syndrome and abdominal obesity among children and adolescents may be laying the foundation for the emergence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes later in life through early low-grade inflammation. To reduce the potential adverse effects of the inflammation that accompanies the metabolic syndrome, children and adolescents with this syndrome should avoid excessive energy intake, limit sedentary behavior, and increase their participation in activities that increase their energy expenditure.
Diabetes Care, April, 2005 Volume 28 Number 4
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DID YOU KNOW:
A healthy body for a lively brain: According to a 10-year study of elderly men, longer and more intense physical activity may help people to maintain their cognitive skills as they age
(Neurology 2004; 63: 2316-21). The study reviewed the data of 295 men from the Finland, Italy and Netherlands Elderly (FINE) Study. Beginning in 1990, researchers measured the duration and intensity of physical activities such as walking, cycling, gardening, farming, sports, and hobbies. The study showed that over 10 years, the cognitive decline in men who had reduced their daily physical activity by an hour or more was greater than the decline in men who maintained their activity. It is believed that physical activity, as well as improving blood flow to the brain, thus reducing the risk of cognitive decline, may stimulate the growth of nerve cells in the region of the brain involved in memory functions.