Gender-based differences in the clustering of metabolic syndrome factors in children and adolescents

Valeria Calcaterra, Daniela Larizza, Annalisa De Silvestri, Riccardo Albertini, Federica Vinci, Corrado Regalbuto, Giulia Dobbiani, Chiara Montalbano, Gloria Pelizzo, Hellas Cena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We depicted gender-differences in metabolic syndrome (MS) clustering before and after puberty in pediatrics, in order to develop gender specific preventive strategies for childhood obesity. We considered 1079 children and adolescents (529 females and 550 males; mean age 11.5 ± 2.8 year). According to body mass index (BMI) percentiles the subjects were classified as normal weight BMI <75th, overweight BMI 75-95th and with obesity BMI >95th. MS was diagnosed when three of the following criteria for age and sex percentiles were met: BMI >95th, triglycerides (TGs) level >95th, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) level <5th, blood pressure (blood pressure) >95th percentile, fasting blood glucose (FBG) >100 mg/dL and/or homeostatic model assessment- insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) >97.5th percentile. The prevalence of dismetabolic factors was similar in both genders, except for pathological BP, which was higher in males (p = 0.02). MS was detected only in patients with obesity, with a higher prevalence in pubertal than late/post-pubertal subjects (p < 0.001), without any significant difference between gender. In pre-puberty, the most common MS combination was obesity (HBMI) + hypertension (HBP) + hyperglycemia/insulin resistance (HGLY/IR) followed by HBMI + low HDL-levels (LHDL) + HGLY/IR versus HBMI + HBP + HGLY/IR followed by HBMI + HBP + LHDL, respectively, in females and males. In the early and late/post-pubertal periods, the most prevalent combination remained similar to pre-puberty, additionally in both sexes other combinations, such as HBMI + HTG + HBP + HGLY/IR, HBMI + HBP + LHDL + HGLY/IR, HBMI + HTG + LHDL + HGLY/IR and HBMI + HTG + LHDL + HBP + HGLY/IR were also detected, differently distributed in males and females. We confirm that MS is an important consequence related to obesity, particularly in the post-puberty stage. Some gender-based differences should be considered early in order to identify specific preventive and treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • adolescents
  • children
  • combination
  • gender
  • metabolic syndrome
  • sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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