Background: Deprivation, a process that prevents people to assume their social responsibilities, is a main cause of inequalities in health. Metabolic syndrome has a growing prevalence in France.
Objectives: To assess the association between deprivation and the metabolic syndrome and to identify the most relevant waist circumference cut-off point.
Methods: A cross-sectional multicentre study was carried out of data extracted from health examination centres of two French areas in 2008. The harmonized definition of the metabolic syndrome contained five criteria with two thresholds for waist circumference. Deprivation was calculated by the Evaluation of Deprivation and Inequalities in Health Examination Centres score (EPICES). Eligible patients were at least 16 years old. The methodology of time to event analysis was used on patients having two criteria to identify the most relevant waist circumference threshold, taking waist circumference as event and computing it as a continuous variable. The median corresponded to the waist circumference threshold for which half of the patients switched from two to three criteria and so metabolic syndrome.
Results: Of the 32374 persons included in the study, 39.4% were socially deprived. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome varied from 16.3% to 22.2% in the overall sample depending on the published waist circumference thresholds chosen. Deprivation was an independent factor associated with the metabolic syndrome. The cut-off point for waist circumference was between 95 and 99 cm for men and 88 and 97 cm for women.
Conclusion: Deprivation is associated with a higher prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. The most relevant threshold for waist circumference could be 94 cm for men and 88 cm for women.
Keywords: Community health centres; metabolic Syndrome X; primary health care; psychosocial deprivation; vulnerable populations; waist circumference..
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