AAP: Focus on Kids’ Cardiometabolic Risk Factors, Not MetS

Identifying cardiometabolic risk factors in children can help to prevent chronic health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, suggested a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

While pediatricians can use metabolic syndrome (MetS) — defined as a specific cluster of at least three of five diagnostic criteria — as an organizing frame, clinical screening in children should focus on cardiometabolic risk factors, wrote Sheela N. Magge, MD, MSCE, of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and colleagues in Pediatrics.

Magge echoed that sentiment, commenting that “rather than focus on a particular cut point to fit a definition, it makes more sense to screen children for the risk factors.”

These factors include obesity, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

The AAP report noted that there are currently more than 40 different definitions of MetS with no clear consensus on whether the condition should even be defined in the pediatric population. Part of this confusion stems from the instability of MetS during childhood, as well as racial and ethnic differences in rates of obesity and MetS components.

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