Body Composition and Metabolic Syndrome Components in Transgender/Gender Diverse Adolescents and Young Adults

Ophir Borger*, Liat Perl, Michal Yackobovitch-Gavan, Roni Sides, Avivit Brener, Anat Segev-Becker, Tamar Sheppes, Galit Weinstein, Asaf Oren, Yael Lebenthal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the association of designated sex at birth, body composition, and gender-affirming hormone treatment (GAHT) with the components of metabolic syndrome (MetS) (overweight/obesity, elevated blood pressure [BP], altered glucose metabolism, and dyslipidemia) in transgender/gender diverse (TGD) adolescents and young adults. Methods: TGD individuals underwent body composition studies by bioelectrical impedance analysis according to designated sex at birth, and their muscle-to-fat ratio (MFR) z-scores were calculated. Generalized estimating equations with binary logistic models (n = 326) were used to explore associations while adjusting for potential confounders. Results: A total of 55 TGD females and 111 TGD males, with mean age of 18 – 1.9 years and median duration of GAHT of 1.4 years (interquartile range = 0.6–2.5), were enrolled. Overall, 118/166 (71%) of the TGD cohort showed evidence of at least one MetS component, with a significantly higher rate among TGD males compared with TGD females (91.1% vs. 50.9%, p < 0.001). TGD males were at increased odds for overweight/obesity, elevated/hypertensive BP, elevated triglycerides (TGs), and an atherogenic dyslipidemia index (TG/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-c], TG:HDL-c). The odds of overweight/obesity increased by 44.9 for each standard deviation decrease in the MFR z-score, while the odds for an elevated TG:HDL-c index increased by 3.7. Psychiatric morbidity increased the odds for overweight/obesity by 2.89. Conclusions: After considering confounding variables, the TGD males on GAHT were found to be at an increased risk for cardiometabolic disease. Our observations support the importance of targeted medical nutrition intervention in this group of individuals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLGBT Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA)
  • dyslipidemia
  • gender-affirming hormone treatment (GAHT)
  • muscle-to-fat ratio (MFR)
  • overweight/obese
  • transgender/gender diverse (TGD)


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