Reevaluating the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome in the Taiwanese population

J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Aug;30(4):241-7. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2011.10719966.


Objective: Metabolic syndrome (MS) represents a constellation of conditions, which, taken together, increase an individual's risk for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Numerous guidelines have been suggested; however, increasing evidence has suggested that universal recommendations are not applicable across different ethnic groups. To date, no specific screening recommendations exist for the Taiwanese population.

Materials and methods: A total of 8913 Taiwanese (>18 years) were enrolled and evaluated for MS based on the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria established for the Asian population, in an attempt to reevaluate the appropriate guidelines for diagnosing MS in the Taiwanese population.

Results: Among the risk factors assessed, hypertension (24.72%), hyperglycemia (6.86%), and elevated triglycerides (18.50%) were significantly more prevalent among men (p < 0.01). Low high-density lipoprotein was not significantly different between genders. The prevalence of MS was 24.83% (1171/4716) for men and 15.48% (650/4197) for women. When modified cutoff points for waist circumference (WC) were analyzed (≥ 86.0 cm for men, ≥ 76.0 cm for women), the prevalence of MS increased to 40.88% (1928/4716) for men and 27.88% (1170/4197) for women. Not unexpectedly, the odds ratio for developing MS increased with an increasing WC, as well as with an increasing number of risk factors for MS.

Conclusions: The suggested IDF guidelines for defining MS in the Asian population, including WC, seem appropriate for use in the Taiwanese population but need modification. Further studies are warranted to identify other anthropometric measures specific to the population that would enhance the ability to diagnose MS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asians*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist Circumference


  • Blood Glucose
  • Triglycerides