Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

K-L Catherine Jen


Limited research regarding metabolic syndrome (MetS) has been conducted in obese African American adolescents (OAAA) using the International Diabetes Federation IDF criteria. MetS is a constellation of risk factors that increase the risk for chronic diseases and is defined as presence of any 3 or more of the 5 criteria: fasting glucose 100mg/dl, waist circumference 90th percentile, triglycerides 150 mg/dl, blood pressure (BP) 130/85 mmHg and HDL < 40mg/dl. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence of MetS in OAAA by using the IDF criteria and the relationship with diet, fast food consumption, nutrition knowledge, home food environment (HFE), and serum calcium, leptin, 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D (1, 25 D3) levels. One hundred and fifty one OAAA (mean age: 14.3 ± 1.4 years, 65.6% girls, mean BMI: 37.4±7.2 kg/m2) in a metropolitan area took part in this study. Anthropometric data and fasting blood samples were collected. Participants completed a set of questionnaires regarding diet, fast food consumption, and nutrition knowledge. HFE was completed by the care givers. The MetS rate for OAAA was 61.6% and boys had higher MetS than girls (73.1%, 55.6% respectively). OAAA without MetS had higher serum calcium and 1,25 D3 level but no significant difference were found in food consumption, nutrition knowledge, and HFE. Total cholesterol /HDL ratio and Insulin resistance increased the odds of MetS by 55% and 10% and 1,25 D3 decrease the odds of MetS by 2%. Even though high fast food consumption, lack of nutrition knowledge and poor food environment were negatively associated with obesity, they didn't contribute to MetS. Increase serum vitamin D and calcium level might be beneficial to reduce MetS in OAAA population.