Metabolic Syndrome In Youth Linked To Later Life Heart Disease

Mark Interview with:
Mark DeBoer, MD
Children’s Hospital’s Department of Pediatrics
University of Virginia 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. DeBoer: We have been interested in how the severity of the metabolic syndrome relates to long term risks, both for children and adults.  We formulated a score that takes the different components of the metabolic syndrome (body mass index, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, triglycerides and high density cholesterol) for an individual and forms a score estimating how severe the metabolic syndrome is in that individual.  When we looked at long-term data from individuals followed for 40 years, we found that children and adults with higher scores were more much likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. DeBoer: Many of the components of the metabolic syndrome are related to lifestyle; improving lifestyle through exercise, improved diet and weight loss is likely to lower the metabolic syndrome severity score and improve risk of cardiovascular disease.  A calculator to assess the score based on patient data is available online at

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. DeBoer: We would like to evaluate this score as a way to both motivate patients and follow for change in metabolic syndrome severity over time.  Ultimately, we would like for this score to be incorporated into the electronic medical record for easier use.  We would like to evaluate for particular thresholds of risk identified by the score.


Mark D. DeBoer, Matthew J. Gurka, Jessica G. Woo, John A. Morrison.Severity of Metabolic Syndrome as a Predictor of Cardiovascular Disease Between Childhood and Adulthood. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2015; 66 (6): 755 DOI: 1016/j.jacc.2015.05.061

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Mark DeBoer, MD (2015). Metabolic Syndrome In Youth Linked To Later Life Heart Disease 

Last Updated on October 7, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD