Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Children and the Metabolic Syndrome?

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Micrograph of an artery that supplies the hear...

Micrograph of an artery that supplies the heart with significant atherosclerosis and marked luminal narrowing. Tissue has been stained using Masson’s trichrome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The metabolic syndrome apparently (according to this study) can have early beginnings.  The metabolic syndrome is estimated to affect about 50 million adults but now it is appearing in earlier stages in our children.

It’s not one disease but a series of factors that increase the risk of diabetes, including insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (causing high blood glucose), abdominal obesity, high blood triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol with low-HDL cholesterol (a bad combination), high blood pressure, increased inflammatory blood proteins (e.g. C-reactive protein), and higher concentrations of oxidized LDL- cholesterol.

Even though high levels of LDL-cholesterol are considered a risk factor for heart disease, the oxidation of LDL is worse.  It occurs when the LDL cholesterol particles in your body react with free radicals. The oxidized LDL itself then becomes more reactive and damaging in the surrounding tissues, which can produce inflammation. Higher consumption of trans fats, smoking,  poorly controlled metabolic syndrome and diabetes appear to increase levels of oxidized LDL.

So far, the American Heart Association does not have a fully established criteria for diagnosis, but suggests that having at least 3 of the above conditions will establish a tentative diagnosis.

This study further emphasizes the importance of early childhood nutrition interventions in diet and exercise habits that will help to alleviate this growing problem.


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