, Volume 168, Issue 5, pp 585-591,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Aug 2008

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.