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Open Access Research article

Unravelling the effects of age, period and cohort on metabolic syndrome components in a Taiwanese population using partial least squares regression

Yu-Kang Tu12*, Kuo-Liong Chien3, Victoria Burley4 and Mark S Gilthorpe1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Biostatistics, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

2 Leeds Dental Institute, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

3 Institute of Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

4 Nutrition Epidemiology Group, School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2011, 11:82  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-82

Published: 27 May 2011

Abstract

Background

We investigate whether the changing environment caused by rapid economic growth yielded differential effects for successive Taiwanese generations on 8 components of metabolic syndrome (MetS): body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), fasting plasma glucose (FPG), triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and uric acid (UA).

Methods

To assess the impact of age, birth year and year of examination on MetS components, we used partial least squares regression to analyze data collected by Mei-Jaw clinics in Taiwan in years 1996 and 2006. Confounders, such as the number of years in formal education, alcohol intake, smoking history status, and betel-nut chewing were adjusted for.

Results

As the age of individuals increased, the values of components generally increased except for UA. Men born after 1970 had lower FPG, lower BMI, lower DBP, lower TG, Lower LDL and greater HDL; women born after 1970 had lower BMI, lower DBP, lower TG, Lower LDL and greater HDL and UA. There is a similar pattern between the trend in levels of metabolic syndrome components against birth year of birth and economic growth in Taiwan.

Conclusions

We found cohort effects in some MetS components, suggesting associations between the changing environment and health outcomes in later life. This ecological association is worthy of further investigation.

Keywords:
Metabolic syndrome; obesity; age-period-cohort analysis; partial least squares; Taiwan