A school-based cross sectional study design was used to characterize and establish gender and age-adjusted prevalence of metabolic syndrome among school children in Nablus (6-<18 years old). Independently of the definition used, MetS is highly prevalent among Palestinian children in Nablus and associated with increasing obesity and age. The overall prevalence of MetS was more pronounced when NCEP-ATP III definition (5.7%) was implemented compared to the IDF definition (3.0%) among school children in Nablus aged 10 < 18 years old with no statistical differences between males and females. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has reached alarming rate among Palestinian school children in Nablus. The prevalence rates of individual MetS component among obese children were: 25.7%, for central obesity(29.7% females and 22.6% males), 16.2% for elevated BPs (12.5% females and 25.5 % males), 20.4% for high TG (12.3 %females and 7.4% males), 66.9% for low HDL-Cholesterol (80 % females and 58 %males), and 39.2% for IFG (49.2% females and 32.1% males). Low HDL- cholesterol, impaired blood sugar and elevated triglyceride were the leading three common metabolic abnormalities among overweight and obese childrenwith significant increasein females. With the increase of BMI, the clustering of MetS components was remarkably increased.Therefore, more attention should be paid on the young population at risk to reduce childhood obesity and subsequent cardiovascular diseases. In conclusion, despite the lack of a uniform definition for metabolic syndrome, this study has established that MetS is common among School children in Nablus. The higher prevalence of MetS in school aged children in Nablus city demands immediate intervention, given the potential for these children to develop chronic disease. Finally, the NCEP-ATP III definition tends to give higher values for MetS prevalence, and therefore could be more appropriate for diagnosing MetS among Palestinian-children.More ethnic- specific studies are recommended in order to establish national-specific age and sex ranges for waist circumferences and other Mets risk factors.
Key word: Metabolic syndrome, Diabetes, obesity.