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22-07-2009 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Metabolic syndrome definitions vary in ability to detect subclinical atherosclerosis in Chinese people


Free abstract

MedWire News: Some definitions of the metabolic syndrome (MS) are better than others at detecting subclinical atherosclerosis in Chinese people without diabetes, research suggests.

MS definitions from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and criteria from the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (AHA/NHLBI) best correlated with carotid intima-media thickness (IMT).

Those from the World Health Organization (WHO) were least effective, report Jung-Nan Wei (Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan, Taiwan) and colleagues in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.

The study included 140 Chinese residents in Yun-Lin county in Taiwan who did not have diabetes and were assessed for anthropometric measures, biochemical profile, and carotid IMT.

Overall, 47.1% of participants had the MS by any one of the four definitions included, and 42.4% of these fulfilled all four criteria.

Prevalence of the MS was 38.6% for IDF criteria, 40.0% for AHA/NHLBI criteria, 30.7% for National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel (NCEP-ATP) III criteria, and 32.1% for WHO criteria.

Participants with the MS defined by IDF and AHA/NHLBI criteria had significantly higher carotid IMT than others, after accounting for age, gender, smoking, and serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

There was no significant association between carotid IMT and MS defined by NCEP-ATP III or WHO criteria.

Individuals with more components of the MS defined by IDF, AHA/NHLBI, or NCEP-ATP III criteria had higher carotid IMT after controlling for age, gender, smoking status, and LDL cholesterol levels.

The researchers conclude: “MS definitions by IDF and AHA/NHLBI criteria are the best among four commonly used definitions in detecting subclinical atherosclerosis in non-diabetic Chinese subjects; whereas MS defined by WHO is the worst.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Anita Wilkinson