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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16(2):362-7.

Metabolic syndrome: recent prevalence in East and Southeast Asian populations.

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Baker Heart Research Institute, PO Box 6492, St Kilda Central, Melbourne, 8008, Australia.



The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among a number of Asian populations as defined by several current criteria has been increasing rapidly and appears to resemble that among Western populations.


We review 25 surveys of the metabolic syndrome in Asian populations (PR China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Singapore) that report adequate information published during the last 5 years.


Using Asian-adapted definitions of obesity (BMI > or = 25 kg/m(2)) and increased waist circumference (for male > or = 90 cm; for female > or =80 cm) prevalence appears to be between 10 to 30%. Those with the syndrome are more likely to have a history of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is 10 times higher among middle-aged Japanese men with the metabolic syndrome compared to healthy subjects. In Chinese and Japanese populations, people who have the metabolic syndrome are 3 to 10 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Variance in prevalence estimates of the metabolic syndrome even within the same country result from differences in sampling and possibly from definitions.


The outstanding conclusion from recent surveys across the Asian-Pacific region is that of a consistent increase in the prevalence of the metabolic derangements associated with abdominal adiposity that lead to high risk of morbidity and mortality.

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