Objectives—To determine the age of significant divergence in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in adults with and without the metabolic syndrome, and to provide age- and sexspecific childhood values that predict adult metabolic syndrome.
Study design—Part 1 of this study is a retrospective cohort study of 92 men and 59 women (mean age, 51 years) who had metabolic syndrome and 154 randomly selected adults matched for age and sex who did not have the syndrome. Part 2 is a study of predictive accuracy in a validation sample of 743 participants.
Results—The first appearance of differences between adults with and without metabolic syndrome occurred at ages 8 and 13 for BMI and 6 and 13 for waist circumference in boys and girls, respectively. Odds ratios (ORs) for the metabolic syndrome at 30 years and older ranged from 1.4 to 1.9 across age groups in boys and from 0.8 to 2.8 across age groups in girls if BMI exceeded criterion values in childhood. The corresponding ORs for waist circumference ranged from 2.5 to 31.4 in boys and 1.7 to 2.5 in girls. These ORs increased with the number of examinations.
Conclusions—Children with BMI and waist circumference values exceeding the established criterion values are at increased risk for the adult metabolic syndrome.