What is the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the US?

Updated: Mar 30, 2020
  • Author: Stanley S Wang, JD, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Yasmine S Ali, MD, MSCI, FACC, FACP  more...
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Metabolic syndrome is increasing in prevalence, paralleling an increasing epidemic of obesity. In the United States, almost two thirds of the population in 2008 was overweight or obese, with more than one fourth of the population meeting diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome. [29]  2004 Data from a 1999-2000 survey showed that the age-adjusted prevalence of metabolic syndrome among US adults aged 20 years or older had risen from 27% (1988-1994 data) to 32%. [30]  2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data showed a crude estimate of 36.5% for the prevalence of adult obesity (32.3% in adults aged 20-39 years; 40.2% in those aged 40-59 years; 37.0% in those aged ≥60 years). [20] There was a 38.3% overall prevalence of obesity in women and a 34.3% in men. Among youth aged 2-19 years, there was a 17% prevalence of obesity over the same period (8.9% in those aged 2-5 years; 17.5% in those aged 6-11 years; 20.5% in those aged 12-19 years). [20]  

Fortunately, since peaking in 2001-2002, the overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the United States has fallen, primarily due to decreases in the prevalences of hypertriglyceridemia and hypertension—and in spite of increases in the prevalences of hyperglycemia and obesity/waist circumference. [31]  Data from the 2009-2010 NHANES showed that the age-adjusted prevalence of metabolic syndrome had fallen to approximately 24% in men and 22% in women. [32]

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