Sex differences in metabolic syndrome components in adolescent military dependents at high-risk for adult obesity

Lisa M. Shank, M. Katy Higgins Neyland, Jason M. Lavender, Rachel Schindler, Senait Solomon, Kathrin Hennigan, William Leu, Natasha A. Schvey, Tracy Sbrocco, Sarah Jorgensen, Mark Stephens, Cara H. Olsen, Mark Haigney, David A. Klein, Jeffrey Quinlan, Jack A. Yanovski, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Metabolic syndrome in adolescence has been associated with adverse cardiometabolic outcomes in adulthood. Preliminary data suggest that boys may have worsened metabolic syndrome components compared to girls. Yet, little is known about the physical health of military dependents, a potentially at-risk population. Objective: Examine sex differences in metabolic syndrome components in a sample of adolescent military dependents. Methods: Participants were adolescents (N = 139; 14.4 ± 1.6 years; 45.3% male; 41.0% non-Hispanic White, 19.4% non-Hispanic Black; BMI-z: 1.9 ± 0.4) at-risk for adult obesity and binge-eating disorder due to an age- and sex-adjusted BMI ≥85th percentile and loss-of-control eating and/or elevated anxiety. A multivariate analysis of covariance was conducted to compare objectively measured metabolic syndrome components across boys and girls. Covariates were age, race, loss-of-control eating status, anxiety symptoms, and BMI-z. Results: Metabolic syndrome components differed by sex (P =.01). Boys had higher systolic blood pressure (P =.049), lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P =.01), and higher glucose (P =.001) than girls. Waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure, and triglycerides did not differ between boys and girls (P >.05). Conclusions: Future research should prospectively examine these relationships into adulthood. If the current findings are supported, prevention programs should consider targeting cardiometabolic health particularly among male adolescent military dependents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12638
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescents
  • metabolic syndrome
  • military
  • obesity
  • overweight
  • sex differences


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