Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a term you’ll hear often when childhood obesity comes up. MetS is simply a name for a varied group of risk factors that occur together and increase one’s risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
What causes MetS?
Researchers are not sure if MetS can be officially linked to a single cause, but they do know that every single one of the risks for the syndrome are related to obesity. According to current research, the two most reliable indicating risk factors for MetS include:
- Central obesity.
- Insulin resistance. This is when a body uses insulin less effectively than normal. Because the body isn’t regulating the insulin correctly, insulin may be needed to help control the amount of sugar in the body, which means blood sugar and fat levels rise.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that other known risk factors for MetS include:
- Hormone changes
- Lack of exercise
How to tell if you have MetS
To have MetS someone needs to have three or more of the following issues present in their body…
- Blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85 mmHg.
- Fasting blood sugar (glucose) equal to or higher than 100 mg/dL.
- Large waist circumference – for men 40 inches or more and for women 35 inches or more.
- Low HDL cholesterol
- Triglycerides equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL
- How to specifically spot MetS in a child or teen.
Can MetS go away?
Kids (and adults) with MetS are at an increased long-term risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and poor blood supply to the legs, but you can reduce your child’s risks by essentially reducing your child’s risk of heart disease and diabetes. This means your child will likely need to do the following…
- Take on healthy habits and lifestyle changes that can reduce blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Lose weight.
- Get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as walking, 5 – 7 days per week.
- Lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels using weight loss, exercise, and sometimes medicines.