Open Access Research article

Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its components in Northwest Russia: the Arkhangelsk study

Oleg Sidorenkov15*, Odd Nilssen15, Tormod Brenn15, Sergey Martiushov2, Vadim L Arkhipovsky3 and Andrej M Grjibovski145

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø, postbox 9037 Tromsø, Norway

2 Department of Internal Medicine-II, Northern State Medical University, Troitsky Ave, 51, Arkhangelsk 163001, Russia

3 Semashko Clinic, Arkhangelsk, Russia

4 Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Postbox 4404 Nydalen, 0403 Oslo, Norway

5 International School of Public Health, Northern State Medical University, Troitsky Ave, 51, Arkhangelsk 163001, Russia

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-23

Published: 19 January 2010



The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of risk factors associated with morbidity from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated mortality. Russia has one of the highest CVD mortality rates in the world. However, the prevalence of MetS in Russia remains largely unknown. The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of MetS and its components in an urban Russian setting.


Altogether, 3705 Russian adults aged 18-90 years were enrolled in a cross-sectional study in Arkhangelsk (Northwest Russia). All subjects completed a questionnaire and underwent a physical examination. Blood samples were taken and analyzed in TromsØ, Norway. Three separate modified definitions of MetS were used, namely, the National Education Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP), the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (AHA/NHLBI) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). To ensure comparability of the findings, the prevalence data were standardized using world and European standard populations and Russian population.


The age-standardized (Segi's world standard population) prevalence rates of the MetS among women were 19.8% (95% CI: 18.1-21.5), 20.6% (95% CI: 18.9-22.3) and 23.1% (95% CI: 21.3-24.9) by the NCEP, AHA/NHLBI and IDF criteria, respectively. The corresponding rates for men were 11.5% (95% CI: 10.1-12.9), 13.7% (95% CI: 12.2-15.2) and 11.0% (95% CI: 9.7-12.4). Among subjects with MetS, central obesity was more common among women, while elevated triglycerides and blood glucose were more common among men. Almost perfect agreement was found between the NCEP and AHA/NHLBI criteria (κ = 0.94). There was less agreement between the used definitions of MetS in men than in women.


While the prevalence of MetS among Russian women is comparable to the data for Europe and the U.S., the prevalence among Russian men is considerably lower than among their European and North-American counterparts. Our results suggest that MetS is unlikely to be a major contributor to the high cardiovascular mortality among Russian men. Further studies of MetS determinants and associated cardiovascular risk are needed for a better understanding of the mechanisms leading to the exceptionally high cardiovascular mortality in Russia.