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Relation between obesity from childhood to adulthood and the metabolic syndrome: population based study

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 01 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:319
  1. Mauno Vanhala, general practitionera,
  2. Pasi Vanhala, general practitionera,
  3. Esko Kumpusalo, lecturerb,
  4. Pirjo Halonen, statisticianb,
  5. Jorma Takala, professor (
  1. a Pieksämäki District Health Centre, PO Box 65, 76101 Pieksämäki, Finland
  2. bKuopio University, Department of Public Health and General Practice, PO Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland
  1. Correspondence to: Dr M Vanhala, Community Health Centre of the City of Imatra, Virastokatu 2, 55100 Imatra, Finland
  • Accepted 20 March 1998

Most researchers agree that obesity is an important modulator of the metabolic syndrome, 1 2 which is a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors associated with insulin resistance —such as hypertension,hypertriglyceridaemia,a low concentration of high density lipoprotein cholesterol, abnormal glucose metabolism, and hyperinsulinaemia.3Little is known, however, about the association between relative weight change from childhood to adulthood and the development of metabolic syndrome in adulthood.

Material, methods, and results

We recently published data of a population study for the metabolic syndrome, performed during 1993-4 in Pieksämäki, Finland. All subjects (n=1008) born in the years 1947, 1952, and 1957 were examined according to a protocol described elsewhere.4Data on both weight and height at age 7 years (the start of primary school) were also collected.

Altogether, 712/1008 (70.6%) subjects participated in the study. Weights and heights at age 7 were traced for 439/712 (61.7%) participants. Obesity was defined both in childhood and in adulthood as a …

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