, Volume 168, Issue 5, pp 585-591,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The association of elevated alanine aminotransferase and the metabolic syndrome in an overweight and obese pediatric population of multi-ethnic origin

Abstract

We studied the association between alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and features of the metabolic syndrome in a cohort of overweight and obese children aged 3–18 years. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed in 443 consecutive children from an obesity out-patient clinic (median age 11.2, range 3.1–18.0 years; n = 240 boys) of multi-ethnic origin. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, elevated ALT (>30 IU/L), and the association of ALT with (components of) the metabolic syndrome was assessed. The metabolic syndrome was present in 26.9%. Elevated ALT levels were found in 20.3%, with a higher prevalence in boys than in girls (25.8% versus 13.8%, P < 0.001). ALT was associated with the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, and low HDL-cholesterol after adjustment for gender, age, and BMI. In conclusion, elevated ALT levels were highly prevalent and associated with the metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, and low HDL-cholesterol in an obese multiethnic pediatric population.