Why Are Our Children Getting the Metabolic Syndrome?
The metabolic syndrome is an increasingly common condition. It’s defined as the presence of several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, blood sugar problems, high cholesterol, and/or obesity. Although generally linked to obesity, the metabolic syndrome can occur in the absence of obesity, so obesity is most likely a sign of the syndrome, rather than a cause.
What’s most alarming about this ill-defined condition is how often it’s cropping up in children these days. Since it’s also linked to the development of atherosclerosis (the root cause of most heart disease) it’s alarming that children are increasingly being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Most of the conditions that contribute to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome can be traced to a poor quality, high calorie/low nutrition diet. Other factors may also contribute to the rising epidemic, including stress and sleep deprivation. The metabolic syndrome in children represents “a major public health problem,” experts note. I’ve always said that a healthy diet, adequate sleep and plenty of exercise (playtime, activity time) are important for good health, whether you’re a child or an adult.
l'Allemand-Jander D. Clinical diagnosis of metabolic and cardiovascular risks in overweight children: early development of chronic diseases in the obese child. Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Dec;34 Suppl 2:S32-6. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.237.