Open Access Research article

Assessing clustering of metabolic syndrome components available at primary care for Bantu Africans using factor analysis in the general population

John Nasila Sungwacha1, Joanne Tyler2, Benjamin Longo-Mbenza3*, Jean Bosco Kasiam Lasi On'Kin4, Thierry Gombet56 and Rajiv T Erasmus7

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Statistics, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa

2 Department of Statistics, University of Forte Hare, Eastern cape, South Africa

3 Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Private Bag X1, Mthatha, Eastern Cape, 5117, South Africa

4 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa, DR Congo

5 Division of Cardiology and Intensive Care, University of Maiden Ngouabi, Kinshasa, Congo

6 Emergency Department, University Hospital Center, Brazzaville, Congo

7 Division of Chemical Pathology, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:228  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-228

Published: 12 June 2013



To provide a step-by-step description of the application of factor analysis and interpretation of the results based on anthropometric parameters(body mass index or BMI and waist circumferenceor WC), blood pressure(BP), lipid-lipoprotein(triglycerides and HDL-C) and glucose among Bantu Africans with different numbers and cutoffs of components of metabolic syndrome(MS).


This study was a cross-sectional, comparative, and correlational survey conducted between January and April 2005, in Kinshasa Hinterland, DRC. The clustering of cardiovascular risk factors was defined in all, MS group according to IDF(WC, BP, triglycerides, HDL-C, glucose), absence and presence of cardiometabolic risk(CDM) group(BMI,WC, BP, fasting glucose, and post-load glucose).


Out of 977 participants, 17.4%( n = 170), 11%( n = 107), and 7.7%(n = 75) had type 2 diabetes mellitus(T2DM), MS, and CDM, respectively. Gender did not influence on all variables. Except BMI, levels of the rest variables were significantly higher in presence of T2DM than non-diabetics. There was a negative correlation between glucose types and BP in absence of CDM. In factor analysis for all, BP(factor 1) and triglycerides-HDL(factor 2) explained 55.4% of the total variance. In factor analysis for MS group, triglycerides-HDL-C(factor 1), BP(factor 2), and abdominal obesity-dysglycemia(factor 3) explained 75.1% of the total variance. In absence of CDM, glucose (factor 1) and obesity(factor 2) explained 48.1% of the total variance. In presence of CDM, 3 factors (factor 1 = glucose, factor 2 = BP, and factor 3 = obesity) explained 73.4% of the total variance.


The MS pathogenesis may be more glucose-centered than abdominal obesity-centered in not considering lipid-lipoprotein , while BP and triglycerides-HDL-C could be the most strong predictors of MS in the general population. It should be specifically defined by ethnic cut-offs of waist circumference among Bantu Africans.

Factor analysis; Metabolic syndrome; Black Africans; Type 2 diabetes