Metabolic syndrome and physical fitness in a sample of Azorean adolescents
Background: Metabolic syndrome, a predecessor of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, has become prevalent in adolescents. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components and to analyze the relationship between metabolic syndrome and overall physical fitness levels in a sample of Azorean adolescents. Methods: A cross-sectional school-based study, the Azorean Physical Activity and Health Study II, was conducted on 517 adolescents (297 girls, 220 boys) aged 15-18 years old from the Azorean Islands. Body height, weight, waist circumference, and arterial blood pressure were measured according to standards. Fasting intravenous blood samples were analyzed (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose). Physical fitness was assessed using five tests from Fitnessgram Test Battery 8.0: Curl-up, push-up, trunk lift, pacer, and sit-and-reach. Adolescents were then classified as being in the healthy zone or above or under the healthy zone. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the 2007 International Diabetes Federation's guidelines for adolescents. Results: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 5% (4.7% in girls and 5.5% in boys, P > 0.05). Waist circumference was the most prevalent component (32.9%), and hypertriglyceridemia the least (4.4%). Logistic regression analysis showed that after adjusting for pubertal stage and socioeconomic status, unfit adolescents (healthy zone criteria in ≤2 tests) were more likely [odds ratio (OR) = 3.414; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.150-10.129] to be classified as having metabolic syndrome. Conclusions: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome is high in Azorean adolescents. Unfit adolescents were more likely to have metabolic syndrome than fit adolescents. Improving overall physical fitness levels and abdominal obesity reduction may be important strategies in overcoming this public health problem and its consequences.