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Open Access Research article

Association between physical activity and metabolic syndrome: a cross sectional survey in adolescents in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Trang HHD Nguyen1*, Hong K Tang1, Patrick Kelly2, Hidde P van der Ploeg3 and Michael J Dibley2

Author affiliations

1 Department of Community Health, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

2 The Sydney School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

3 Cluster for Physical Activity and Health, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2010, 10:141  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-141

Published: 17 March 2010

Abstract

Background

The emerging epidemic of overweight/obesity in adolescents in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam underlines the importance of studying the metabolic syndrome in Vietnamese adolescents who are becoming progressively more inactive. No study in Vietnam has examined the association of metabolic syndrome with moderate to vigorous physical activity (PA) levels among adolescents. We aimed to examine this association in a sample of urban adolescents from Ho Chi Minh City.

Methods

A cross-sectional assessment was conducted in 2007 on a representative sample of 693 high-school students from urban districts in Ho Chi Minh City. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the International Diabetes Federation criteria and physical activity was measured with Actigraph accelerometers. The association between physical activity and metabolic syndrome was assessed by using multiple logistic regression models.

Results

Overall 4.6% of the adolescents and 11.8% of the overweight/obese adolescents had metabolic syndrome. Elevated BP was the most common individual component of the metabolic syndrome (21.5%), followed by hypertriglyceridemia (11.1%). After adjusting for other study factors, the odds of metabolic syndrome among youth in the lowest physical activity group (<43 minutes of physical activity/day) were five times higher than those in the highest physical activity group (>103 minutes/day) (AOR = 5.3, 95% CI: 1.5, 19.1). Metabolic syndrome was also positively associated with socioeconomic status (AOR = 9.4, 95% CI: 2.1, 42.4).

Conclusions

A more physically active lifestyle appears to be associated with a lower odds of metabolic syndrome in Vietnamese adolescents. Socio-economic status should be taken into account when planning interventions to prevent adolescent metabolic syndrome.