"We first looked for different profiles for the indicators of metabolic syndrome when the girls were 13, then worked backwards to see what was causing them in the first place," says Ventura, whose findings appear this month (December) in the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics.
The study found statistical support was the greatest for the presence of four different groups within the sample: These groups included girls with higher blood pressure and waist circumference values; girls with higher levels of triglycerides and lower levels of HDL cholesterol; girls with more desirable values on all of the metabolic syndrome indicators, and girls with more undesirable values on all of the indicators.
"We wanted to see if we could find higher and lower risk profiles in the sample," explains Ventura. "Next we wanted to see if there were certain characteristics across ages 5 to 11 that predicted having a higher or lower risk profile."
Results from the study further suggest that girls within the risk groups for hypertension and metabolic syndrome also had significantly greater increases in weight and fat mass between the ages of 5 and 13 compared to the other two groups. Those at higher risk for metabolic syndrome were also found to be consuming significantly more servings of sugary beverages between the ages of 5 and 9 compared to the other three groups.
The Penn State researcher , however, cautions on making general interpretations from the study.
"We do not have future data on these girls and so we can only speculate that girls in the high risk group might develop metabolic syndrome, heart disease or type-2 diabetes," she adds.
Though the study cannot definitely pinpoint which children will develop chronic diseases, Ventura says the results show evidence for metab
Contact: Amitabh Avasthi