The Metabolic Syndrome: How Definition Impacts the Prevalence and Risk in U.S. Adults: 1999-2004 NHANES

Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2007 Dec;5(4):331-42. doi: 10.1089/met.2007.0010.


Background: To examine the relationships various medical society definitions have on metabolic syndrome (MetS) prevalence and the likelihood of a MetS diagnosis among a national sample of the United States (US) adult population.

Methods: The sample for this study included adults, 20 years and older, (N = 5620) who completed the mobile examination center (MEC) examination in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). SUDAAN statistical software was used to estimate age-adjusted prevalence and odds ratios.

Results: The overall age-adjusted MetS prevalence ranged from a high of 38.9% (ACE/AACE), to a low of 21.2% (EGIR). For most MetS definitions, males, people in the eighth decade of life (70-79 years of age), Mexican-Americans, those without a high school education, and those living in poverty were found to have the greatest prevalence. Additionally, females were 21% to 33% less likely to be diagnosed with the MetS. People in the seventh decade of life were two to four times more likely to have the MetS compared to those in the third decade of life. Furthermore, adults with greater than a high school education were 26% to 30% less likely to be diagnosed with the MetS and adults in the >/=400% poverty category were 24% to 29% less likely to be diagnosed with the MetS compared to those living below the 100% poverty demarcation.

Conclusion: MetS prevalence and the likelihood of being diagnosed with the MetS within populations are highly dependent on the requisite criteria and medical society definition used.