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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Kinesiology and Recreation

First Advisor

Kelly R. Laurson


Muscular strength has recently been identified as a potential target of cardiometabolic risk-factor reduction strategies in youth. Initial explorations have indicated links between muscular strength and individual components of metabolic syndrome, but large, nationally-representative research on the topic is limited. PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between metabolic syndrome and muscular strength in a nationally representative sample of U.S. youth. METHODS: The analysis included 409 boys and 415 girls from the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 12-18 years of age. Metabolic syndrome was defined by the Jolliffe and Janssen criteria and based on having 3 or more of the following components: abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, or high fasting glucose. Muscular strength was assessed via handgrip dynamometer and expressed as age- and sex-specific z-scores of relative strength (kg strength/kg body mass). Low strength was defined as a relative grip strength below the 25th age- and sex-specific percentile. Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of metabolic syndrome based on relative strength z-score. An additional model compared the odds of metabolic syndrome between youth in low and adequate strength groups. All analyses controlled for age, sex, race/ethnicity, physical activity status, and weight status. RESULTS: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 5.3% (95% CI 3.9% to 7.3%). The logistic regression indicated that for every 1 unit decrease in strength z-score, the odds of metabolic syndrome increased by 2.6 (95% CI 1.7 to 4.1). Further, adolescents with low strength were more likely to have metabolic syndrome than those with adequate strength (odds ratio = 2.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.3). CONCLUSIONS: Muscular strength is predictive of adolescent metabolic syndrome. Youth with low strength are more than twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome than those above the bottom strength quartile, irrespective of physical activity and weight status. These results highlight the relevance of muscular strength in the prevention of youth cardiometabolic disease and metabolic syndrome.

KEYWORDS: Cardiometabolic; Pediatrics; Youth; Handgrip Strength; Triglycerides; HDL; Waist Circumference; Glucose; Blood Pressure..


Imported from ProQuest Pilli_ilstu_0092N_11657.pdf


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