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12-10-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Rising metabolic syndrome prevalence is serious US public health concern


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MedWire News: The number of US adults with the metabolic syndrome is increasing, a study shows, raising concerns about the associated risk for a concomitant increase in Type 2 diabetes.

The study, which was carried out by Gary Liguori and Arupendra Mozumdar, from North Dakota State University in Fargo, USA, analyzed changes in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in US adults of different race and ethnicity between 1988-1994 and 1999-2006.

The data on 6423 adult men and non-pregnant women, aged 20 years or over, from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1988-1994 was compared with that on 6962 participants from the combined NHANES 1999-2006.

The results indicated that the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, after accounting for age, increased significantly between the two studies, from an average of 29.2% in 1988-1994 to 34.2% in 1999-2006.

The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome increased in both men and women, but the relative increase was slightly higher in women than men, at 28.4% and 16.8%, respectively.

With regard to race and ethnicity, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was highest in Mexican Americans overall, but the prevalence significantly increased over time in non-Hispanic Whites and non-Hispanic Blacks, particularly among younger women aged 20-39 years.

The researchers report in the journal Diabetes Care that "the increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome was primarily due to increases in abdominal obesity and high blood pressure."

They also note that there was a 2.6% increase in diabetes between participants in the two surveys. They therefore warn that if the metabolic syndrome prevalence continues to rise, there will be a "concomitant increase in diabetes and its comorbidities and associated medical costs."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Nikki Withers