Metabolic syndrome, a combination of health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, poor lipid profile, is said to affect 35 per cent of adults and 50 per cent aged 60 and above in the US according to a new study published in JAMA.
The study by Robert J. Wong, M.D., M.S., of the Alameda Health System-Highland Hospital, Oakland, California, and his colleagues is based on 2003-2012 NHANES data (a probability sample of the U.S. population). In the study, researchers evaluated trends in the metabolic syndrome among adults aged 20 or above. The researchers stratified metabolic syndrome prevalence by sex, race/ethnicity, and age groups (20-39, 40-59, and 60 years or older).
The researchers found that from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012, overall prevalence of the metabolic syndrome increased from 32.9 per cent to 34.7 per cent. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome from 2007-2008 to 2011-2012 remained stable, as did prevalence trends among men and all race/ethnic groups, whereas prevalence among women decreased from 39.4 per cent in 2007-2008 to 36.6 per cent in 2011-2012.
From 2003 to 2012, prevalence was higher in women compared with men. When stratified by race/ethnicity, the highest prevalence was seen in Hispanics, followed by non-Hispanic whites and blacks.
The researchers also found that metabolic syndrome prevalence increased by age groups, increasing from 18.3 per cent among those 20 to 39 years of age to 46.7 per cent among those 60 years or older. Among this age group, more than 50 per cent of women and Hispanics had the metabolic syndrome. The authors write that the high prevalence among the oldest age group is “a concerning observation given the aging U.S. population.”
The researchers add that greater awareness of the metabolic syndrome and its health consequences may have contributed to improvements in optimizing treatment of risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes. “Furthermore, recent NHANES data demonstrate that obesity prevalence in the United States also appears to have stabilized, which also may contribute to the stabilizing prevalence of the metabolic syndrome.”