Few studies have been conducted to explore the associations of fatness and fitness during adolescence with risk factors of metabolic syndrome (MetS) during adulthood, particularly in Asians.
Adolescent anthropometric and fitness data were collected during the participants’ high school years (N = 15,896) and their corresponding health examination data from adulthood were taken from the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC) in Korea. A total of 1,006 participants (6.3%) were analyzed in the study.
The odds ratios (ORs) for being overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) during adulthood was 11.87 (95% CI: 4.19–33.59) in men and 8.44 (95% CI: 1.78–40.02) in women, respectively, in the fattest group vs. the leanest group during adolescence. Participants with low fitness levels during adolescence were more likely to be overweight and have abnormal MetS risk factors in adulthood vs. those with high fitness levels. Joint exposure analyses of fatness and fitness showed that male participants who were more fat and unfit during adolescence had 4.11 (95% CI: 1.19–14.14) and 3.04 (95% CI: 1.17–11.12) times higher risk of having abnormal glucose and MetS risks during adulthood, respectively.
Fatness and fitness levels during adolescence appear to be significantly associated with the MetS risk factors and prevalence in adulthood in Koreans.