New Definition Helps Identify Children at Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

    BRUSSELS, June 25 /CNW/ - The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has
launched a new definition to identify children and adolescents at increased
risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life.
The definition is published in The Lancet(1) today.
    The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of the most dangerous risk factors
for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Its early identification is
very important to facilitate preventive action. This first simple, unified
definition from IDF for children and adolescents is consistent with that
available for adults.(2)
    "Diabetes and cardiovascular disease cause death and serious disability,"
said Professor Paul Zimmet, Chair of the IDF Task Force on Epidemiology and
Prevention and co-author of the definition. "Almost 4 million deaths every
year are a consequence of diabetes-related causes. And with diabetes set to
reach 380 million people within a generation, the death toll can only rise.(3)
This is the first generation where children may die before their parents."
    Intrauterine events for the unborn child and factors during early
development years predispose a child to disorders such as obesity,
prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome. At the same time, urbanization, unhealthy
diet and sedentary lifestyle are increasing the risks for the coming
    The new definition is simple and easy to apply in clinical practice.
Waist measurement is the main component. Percentiles, rather than absolute
values of waist circumference have been used to compensate for variation in
child development and ethnic origin.
    The definition is divided according to age-groups: age 6 to 10; 10 to 16;
and 16 or older. IDF suggests that the metabolic syndrome should not be
diagnosed in children younger than 10, but that a strong message for weight
reduction should be delivered for those with abdominal obesity.
    For children age 10 or older, metabolic syndrome can be diagnosed with
abdominal obesity (using waist circumference percentiles) and the presence of
two or more other clinical features (elevated triglycerides, low
HDL-cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased plasma glucose). Although some
of these as well as body size and proportions change with age and development,
in the absence of contemporary definitive data, the criteria adhere to the
absolute values in IDF's adult definition. The exception is that one (rather
than a sex-specific) cut-off is used for HDL. For children older than 16, the
IDF adult criteria can be used.
    "Early detection followed by treatment-particularly lifestyle
intervention-is vital to halt the progression of the metabolic syndrome and
safeguard the future health of children and adolescents", said Professor Sir
George Alberti, IDF past President and co-author of the definition. "We call
on governments to create environments that allow for lifestyle changes. This
will require a coordinated approach across all sectors including health,
education, sports and agriculture, but it is the only way we can curb the
burden of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease."

    The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is the global advocate for
almost 250 million people with diabetes worldwide. It represents 200 diabetes
associations in more than 150 countries. Its mission is to promote diabetes
care, prevention and a cure worldwide. IDF is a non-governmental organization
in official relations with the World Health Organization.


    (1) Alberti KGMM, Zimmet PZ, Shaw JE. The metabolic syndrome in
        children and adolescents, Lancet 2007; 369:2059-2061
    (2) Alberti KGMM, Zimmet PZ, Shaw JE. The metabolic syndrome-a new world-
        wide definition from the IDF Consensus. Lancet 2005; 366: 1059-62.
    (3) Diabetes Atlas, 3rd Edition, International Diabetes Federation, 2006

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For further information: please visit;
Anne Pierson, or +32-25-43-16-23

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