What are the racial predilections of metabolic syndrome?

Updated: Oct 17, 2019
  • Author: Stanley S Wang, JD, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Yasmine S Ali, MD, FACC, FACP, MSCI  more...
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Answer

The fact that the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome vary between ethnic populations is testimony to significant nuances in the manifestation of metabolic syndrome in these groups. The original metabolic syndrome criteria were derived in mostly Caucasian populations, and some have argued for modification of individual criteria for specific ethnic subgroups, as has been done with waist circumference for patients of Asian origin. [42]

In the United States, metabolic syndrome has a high prevalence in African Americans, particularly African American women, and this has been attributed to the higher prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes in this population. [43] However, the highest age-adjusted prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the United States is found in Mexican Americans, approximately 31.9% of whom had the condition (compared with 27% of the general population) in a 1988-1994 survey. [44]

A study by Ukegbu et al found that African immigrants have a worse metabolic profile than do African Americans but that they have a similar prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This may mean that metabolic syndrome may underpredict metabolic risk in Africans. [45]


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