Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin, Oligomenorrhea, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and Childhood Insulin at Age 14 Years Predict Metabolic Syndrome and Class III Obesity at Age 24 Years

Received 8 October 2010; received in revised form 15 December 2010; accepted 10 January 2011. published online 02 March 2011.


We hypothesized that oligomenorrhea (menstrual cyclicity ≥42 days), hyperandrogenism, low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), childhood insulin, and metabolic syndrome (MetS) at age 14 years would predict MetS and class III obesity (body mass index ≥40 kg/m2) at age 24 years.

Study design

In this prospective study of schoolgirls, at age 14 years, the girls were categorized as regularly cycling (n = 375), oligomenorrheic (n = 18), or oligomenorrhea plus biochemical hyperandrogenism (polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS]; n = 12), together designated PCOS.


Significant explanatory variables for MetS at age 24 years included childhood insulin, MetS, and PCOS category (all positive) and SHBG (negative) at age 14 years. Using categorical data, top decile of childhood insulin, MetS at age 14, bottom decile of SHBG, and PCOS category were significant positive predictors for MetS at age 24. SHBG (negative), black race (positive), and oligomenorrhea (positive) were significant explanatory variables for class III obesity at age 24. Using categorical data, black race, MetS at age 14, bottom decile of SHBG, PCOS category, and top decile of childhood insulin were positive explanatory variables for class III obesity at age 24 years.


Oligomenorrhea, PCOS (a subcohort of oligomenorrhea), hyperandrogenism, low SHBG, MetS, and childhood insulin at age 14 years may represent a critical, reversible pathway for the development of MetS and class III obesity in young adulthood.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.