Open Access Research article

Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its components in relation to socioeconomic status among Jamaican young adults: a cross-sectional study

Trevor S Ferguson1, Marshall K Tulloch-Reid1, Novie OM Younger1, Jennifer M Knight-Madden2, Maureen Samms-Vaughan3, Deanna Ashley4, Jan Van den Broeck5 and Rainford J Wilks1*

Author Affiliations

1 Epidemiology Research Unit, Tropical Medicine Research Institute, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

2 Sickle Cell Unit, Tropical Medicine Research Institute, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

3 Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Child Health, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

4 Institute for Sustainable Development, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

5 Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:307  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-307

Published: 3 June 2010

Abstract

Background

The metabolic syndrome has a high prevalence in many countries and has been associated with socioeconomic status (SES). This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its components among Jamaican young adults and evaluate its association with parental SES.

Methods

A subset of the participants from the 1986 Jamaica Birth Cohort was evaluated at ages 18-20 years between 2005 and 2007. Trained research nurses obtained blood pressure and anthropometric measurements and collected a venous blood sample for measurement of lipids and glucose. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its components were estimated using the 2009 Consensus Criteria from the International Diabetes Federation, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, American Heart Association, World Heart Federation, International Atherosclerosis Society, and International Association for the Study of Obesity. SES was assessed by questionnaire using occupation of household head, highest education of parent/guardian, and housing tenure of parent/guardian. Analysis yielded means and proportions for metabolic syndrome variables and covariates. Associations with levels of SES variables were obtained using analysis of variance. Multivariable analysis was conducted using logistic regression models.

Results

Data from 839 participants (378 males; 461 females) were analyzed. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 1.2% (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.5%-1.9%). Prevalence was higher in females (1.7% vs. 0.5%). Prevalence of the components [male: female] were: central obesity, 16.0% [5.3:24.7]; elevated blood pressure, 6.7% [10.8:3.3]; elevated glucose, 1.2% [2.1:0.4]; low HDL, 46.8% [28.8:61.6]; high triglycerides, 0.6% [0.5:0.6]. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome for any of the SES measures used possibly due to lack of statistical power. Prevalence of central obesity was inversely associated with occupation (highly skilled 12.4%, skilled 13.5%, semi-skilled/unskilled 21.8%, p = 0.013) and education (tertiary 12.5%, secondary 14.1%, primary/all-age 28.4%, p = 0.002). In sex-specific multivariate logistic regression adjusted for hip circumference, central obesity remained associated with occupation and education for women only.

Conclusion

Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is low, but central obesity and low HDL are present in 16% and 47% of Jamaican youth, respectively. Central obesity is inversely associated with occupation and education in females.