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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2017

Predictive value of body mass index to metabolic syndrome risk factors in Syrian adolescents

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2017
Mahfouz Al-Bachir, Mohamad Adel Bakir



Obesity has become a serious epidemic health problem in both developing and developed countries. There is much evidence that obesity among adolescents contributed significantly to the development of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease in adulthood. Very limited information exists on the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and associated metabolic risk factors among Syrian adolescents. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between obesity determined by body mass index and the major metabolic risk factors among Syrian adolescents.


A cross-sectional study of a randomly selected sample of 2064 apparently healthy Syrian adolescents aged 18 to 19 years from Damascus city, in Syria, was performed. Body mass index and blood pressure were measured. Serum concentrations of glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol were determined. Metabolic syndrome was defined using the national criteria for each determined metabolic risk factor. Individuals with a body mass index 25 to 29.9 were classified as overweight, whereas individuals with a body mass index ≥30 were classified as obese.
A receiver operating characteristics curve was drawn to determine appropriate cut-off points of the body mass index for defining overweight and obesity, and to indicate the performance of body mass index as a predictor of risk factors.


The obtained data showed that blood pressure and the overall mean concentrations of fasting blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and triglycerides/high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol were significantly higher in overweight and obese adolescent groups (p <0.0001) in comparison with the normal group. Based on receiver operating characteristics calculation for body mass index and some metabolic risks, the data suggest the best body mass index cut-offs ranged between 23.25 and 24.35 kg/m2.


A strong association between overweight and obesity as determined by body mass index and high concentrations of metabolic syndrome components has been demonstrated. Although body mass index values were lower than the international cut-offs, these values were good predictors of some metabolic abnormalities in Syrian adolescents; body mass index is a good predictor of these abnormalities in this population.

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