Objectives: Population-based data on metabolic syndrome (MetS) among children is lacking in the United Arab Emirates which has among the highest rates of diabetes in the world. In this study we determined the prevalence of MetS and its correlates in a sample of adolescents. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional school-based study was conducted on 1,018 adolescents (48.4% girls) aged 12-18 years from Al Ain Abu Dhabi Emirates. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess socio-demographic characteristics, physical activity and dietary habits. Blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference, fasting glucose, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were measured. MetS was defined using the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria. Results: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 13%. Boys compared to girls were more likely to have MetS (21% vs. 4%, odds ratio [OR]: 6.57, 95%CI: 4.01 to 10.75). The prevalence of MetS increased with increase in body mass index and reached 59 percent in obese boys. After multivariable adjustment boys who were overweight (adjusted OR: 2.72 [1.37 to 5.35]), or obese (AOR: 12.70 [7.31 to 22.05]), or spent two or more than two hours on screen in a day (AOR: 1.65 [1.01 to 2.69) were more likely to have MetS. Girls who were overweight (AOR: 4.23 [1.32 to 13.62]) or obese (AOR: 8.32 [2.73 to 25.32]) were more likely to have MetS. Conclusions: The prevalence of MetS is high among UAE boys. Population-based strategies are needed to address the high burden of metabolic syndrome targeted at the identified risk factors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas