OBJECTIVE. To evaluate the prevalence of risk factors that are associated with the metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance in overweight youth and to determine the effect of a short-term, family-centered, lifestyle intervention on various associated anthropometric and metabolic measures.

METHODS. Overweight youth who were between 8 and 16 years of age participated in a 12-week, family-centered, lifestyle intervention program. Anthropometric and metabolic measures were assessed before the program in all participants (n = 109) and after the program in a subset of the participants (n = 43).

RESULTS. At baseline, 49.5% of youth had multiple risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome, based on a modified definition of the National Cholesterol Education Program, and 10% had impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance. Measures of insulin resistance correlated significantly with the risk factors of the metabolic syndrome. Forty-three youth had pre- and postintervention evaluations that showed statistically significant improvements in body mass index, systolic blood pressure, lipids (total, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides), postprandial glucose, and leptin levels.

CONCLUSION. Overweight youth have multiple risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome. A 12-week lifestyle program may have a positive effect on reducing risk factors for the metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance in overweight youth.

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