Comparison of definitions for the metabolic syndrome in adolescents. The HELENA study

on behalf of the HELENA project group*

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Various definitions are used to define metabolic syndrome in adolescents. This study aimed to compare, in terms of prevalence and differences, five frequently used definitions for this population: International Diabetes Federation, National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATP) modified by Cook, pediatric American Heart Association (AHA), World Health Organization, and Jolliffe and Janssen. A sample of 1004 adolescents (12.5–17.0 years) from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study was considered. The components of the definitions (waist circumference/BMI, plasma lipids, glycemia, and blood pressure) were applied, and definitions were compared by using crosstabs, sensitivity, specificity, and kappa coefficient. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome varied from 1.6 to 3.8% depending on the used definitions. Crosstabs comparing the definitions showed the fewest cases being misclassified (having metabolic syndrome or not) between NCEP-ATP and AHA. Analyses for kappa coefficient, sensitivity, and specificity confirmed this finding. Conclusion: The different definitions do not classify the same adolescents as having MS and prevalence varied between diagnostic methods. The modified NCEP-ATP and the AHA definitions were most analogous in defining subjects as having metabolic syndrome or not.What is known?What is new?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-252
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic criteria
  • Metabolic risk factors
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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