Metabolic syndrome determinants in an urban population from Brazil: social class and gender-specific interaction

Guilherme Figueiredo Marquezine, Camila Maciel Oliveira, Alexandre C Pereira, José E Krieger, José G Mill
International Journal of Cardiology 2008 September 26, 129 (2): 259-65

INTRODUCTION: The metabolic syndrome (MS) is characterized by multiple cardiovascular risk factors such as central obesity, arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia and hyperinsulinemia and is associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality. The aim of the present work is to describe the prevalence of MS in an urban population from a highly admixed developing country and to characterize the different correlations between this diagnosis, cardiovascular risk factors and demographic variables distributed in this population.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases was performed in the urban population of Vitoria, Brazil (n=1507). Major cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking habits, alcohol intake, amount of physical activity, diabetes and hypertension were inquired. Blood biochemical assays were performed by standard techniques in 12 h fasting blood sample and Metabolic Syndrome (MS) was characterizes following the ATP III criteria.

RESULTS: The analysis of 1507 individuals showed a 25.43% general prevalence of MS without any significant difference between sexes, but a clear relation of the prevalence with progressing age (p=<0.0001). Even though both sexes showed similar prevalence rates, distribution of risk factors that defined MS was different between men and women, with the prevalence of hypertension, fasting hyperglycemia and hypertriglyceridemia being higher in men. Race was not an important risk factor for MS in this population as opposed to social economic class that was highly associated with the risk of MS in women as their social class was lower, but not in men.

CONCLUSION: This cross-sectional study from a large urban population in Brazil showed a high general prevalence of MS (25.4%), which is increased as the population becomes older (especially in women) and poorer. Although prevalence was very similar in both genders, the frequency of components defining the syndrome varied greatly amongst them. In particular, a significant interaction between gender and social class was observed and may shed light in our understanding of the complex interplay between demographic and biological risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

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