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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Prevalence of metabolic syndrome and obesity in adolescents aged 12 to 19 years: Comparison between the United States and Korea

item Park, Jinkyung
item Hilmers, David
item Mendoza, Jason
item Stuff, Janice
item Liu, Yan
item Nicklas, Theresa

Submitted to: Journal of Korean Medical Science (JKMS)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/25/2009
Publication Date: 1/1/2010
Citation: Park, J., Hilmers, D.C., Mendoza, J.A., Stuff, J.E., Liu, Y., Nicklas, T.A. 2010. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome and obesity in adolescents aged 12 to 19 years: Comparison between the United States and Korea. Journal of Korean Medical Science (JKMS). 25(1):75-82.

Interpretive Summary: The Metabolic Syndrome is related to developing heart disease and diabetes and, is an issued found in the US and in other countries. This study compared the Metabolic Syndrome among adolescents from the US and Korea. US adolescents had higher rates of the Metabolic Syndrome, especially three of its components (abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, and hypertriglyceridemia). Korean adolescents had greater rates of low high density lipoprotein-cholesterol or HDL. Further research should be undertaken to investigate the various genetic, cultural, and environmental factors underlying the differences between the two countries. Customized national policies to prevent the Metabolic Syndrome may be necessary.

Technical Abstract: This study compared the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS), its risk factors, and obesity in adolescents in the United States (US) and Korea. Data were obtained from the 2003-2004 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and 2005 Korea NHANES for adolescents aged 12-19 yr in the US (n=734) and in Korea (n=664). The 2007 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) pediatric definition for diagnosis of MetS and the 2000 US Growth Charts and 2007 Korea Growth Charts for assessment of obesity were utilized. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Koreans and US was 5.5% and 2.5%, respectively. The prevalence of obesity was 18.1% in the US compared to 9.0% in Koreans. The prevalence of abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, and hypertriglyceridemia were higher in the US, whereas that of low HDL-C levels was higher in Korea. Despite the doubled prevalence for the single entities of MetS and obesity in the US, the prevalence of MetS in obese Koreans and US did not differ (20.8% and 24.3%, respectively). In conclusion, there are differences in the prevalence of MetS, obesity, and the individual MetS risk factors between the US and Korean adolescents; however, the risk of MetS among obese adolescents is similar in both countries.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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