European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 589–597 | Cite as

Metabolic syndrome in Spanish adolescents and its association with birth weight, breastfeeding duration, maternal smoking, and maternal obesity: a cross-sectional study

  • Emilio González-JiménezEmail author
  • Miguel A. Montero-Alonso
  • Jacqueline Schmidt-RioValle
  • Carmen J. García-García
  • Cristina Padez
Original Contribution



The metabolic syndrome (MetS) in adolescents is a growing problem. The objectives were to verify the association among early predictors such as birth weight, breastfeeding, maternal weight status, smoking during pregnancy, and the development of MetS.


A cross-sectional study was performed of 976 children and adolescents, 10–15 years of age, at schools in the provinces of Granada and Almeria (Spain). For this purpose, we analyzed the physical characteristics as well as the biochemical markers of the participants with a view to ascertaining the prevalence of the MetS. Relevant data were also extracted from the clinical histories of their mothers.


It was found that 3.85 % of the female subjects and 5.38 % of the male subjects in the sample population suffered from MetS. In both sexes, there was an association between birth weight and positive MetS diagnosis (OR 1.27). For both males and females, there was an inverse association between the length of time that they had been breastfed and positive MetS diagnosis (OR1–3 months 3.16; OR4–6 months 1.70; OR>6 months 0.13). There was also a significant association between maternal weight (ORoverweight 30.79; ORobesity 49.36) and cigarette consumption during pregnancy (OR 1.47) and the subsequent development of MetS in the children of these mothers.


Those subjects born with a higher than average birth weight had a greater risk of developing MetS in childhood and adolescence. Breastfeeding children for longer than 6 months protected them from MetS in their early years as well as in their teens. Other risk factors for MetS were maternal smoking during pregnancy as well as maternal overweight and obesity.


Metabolic syndrome Adolescents Related factors 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilio González-Jiménez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miguel A. Montero-Alonso
    • 2
  • Jacqueline Schmidt-RioValle
    • 3
  • Carmen J. García-García
    • 4
  • Cristina Padez
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Nursing, Faculty of NursingUniversity of GranadaMelillaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Statistics and O.R., Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of GranadaMelillaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Forensic Medicine Toxicology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  5. 5.Department of Life Sciences, Research Centre for Anthropology and HealthUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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