Objective: To estimate the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in Jamaican adults and to evaluate its association with socio-economic status (SES).
Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was performed using data from a cohort study of persons, 25–74 years old, living in St Catherine, Jamaica, and who were evaluated between 1993 and 2001. Participants completed an interviewer administered questionnaire and had blood pressure and anthropometric measurements performed by trained observers. Venous blood was collected for measurement of fasting glucose and lipids. The metabolic syndrome was defined using the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and American Heart Association/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (AHA/NHLBI) criteria. Income and education were used as markers of SES.
Results: Data from 1870 participants (717 males 1153 females) were analysed. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 21.1% (95% CI 19.2, 22.9%) using IDF criteria and 18.4% (95% CI 16.6, 20.2%) using the AHA/NHLBI criteria. Prevalence was higher among females (27.6% [IDF], 23.0% [AHA]) compared to males (10.6% [IDF], 11.0% [AHA]). The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome increased with age. Compared to males with primary/lower education, those with secondary and tertiary education had higher odds of having the metabolic syndrome after adjusting for age; odds ratio 3.12 (1.54, 6.34) and 2.61 (1.33, 5.11) respectively. High income was also associated with increased odds of having the metabolic syndrome among males, OR = 6.0 (2.22, 16.19) adjusting for age-group. There were no significant associations among women.
Conclusion: The metabolic syndrome is common in Jamaica. Clinicians should look for this syndrome in their patients and take steps to treat the abnormalities identified.