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Open Access Research article

Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in a rural population in Ghana

Mawuli Gyakobo1*, Albert GB Amoah2, De-Anne Martey-Marbell3 and Rachel C Snow4

Author Affiliations

1 Ghana-Michigan Charter, C/O Office of the Provost, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, P. O. Box KB 52, Korle-Bu, Ghana

2 Department of Medicine and Therapeutics; National Diabetes Management and Research Centre, University of Ghana Medical School, P. O. BOX 4236, Korle-Bu, Ghana

3 Consultant Family Physician and CEO Mission Clinic, P. O. Box AN 10545, Accra North, West Africa, Ghana

4 Department of Health Behaviour and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 1415 Washington Heights 3814 SPH I, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109, USA

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BMC Endocrine Disorders 2012, 12:25  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-12-25

Published: 30 October 2012



The Metabolic syndrome (MS) which is a constellation of cardiometabolic risk factors including dyslipidaemia, hypertension, hyperglycaemia, central obesity, and endothelial dysfunction was hitherto relatively uncommon among Africans south of the Sahara. This study seeks to determine the prevalence of MS, its components and risk factors among a rural population in Ghana based on two popular international algorithms.


This was a cross-sectional survey of a rural population in Ghana conducted between November and December, 2007. Two hundred and twenty-eight (228) settler farmers, families and staff associated with the GOPDC Ltd, between the ages of 35 and 64 years, were randomly selected for the study; pregnant women were excluded. The prevalence of MS was estimated using the IDF and ATPIII criteria.


The final subject pool included 102 males, and 104 females. The mean age of all subjects was 44.4 ± 6.9 years. The overall prevalence of MS by the IDF and ATPIII criteria were 35.9% and 15.0%, respectively, but there was an alarming female preponderance by both criteria {IDF: males = 15.7%, females =55.8%; ATPIII: males = 5.9%, females = 24.0%; sex differences p<0.001 for both criteria}. The most important determinants for IDF-defined MS were central obesity (55.3%), low High Density Lipoprotein (42.7%) and high Blood Pressure (39.5%).


The triad of central obesity, high blood pressure and low HDL were most responsible for the syndrome in this rural population.

Metabolic syndrome; Rural Ghana; Determinants; ATPIII; IDF