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Obes Facts. 2012;5(1):127-37. doi: 10.1159/000336700. Epub 2012 Mar 2.

Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its components among obese men and women in Italy.

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  • 1Istituto di Bioimmagini e Fisiologia Molecolare, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, via Cervi 93, Segrate, Italy.



Assessment of the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components in Italian obese individuals.


Cross-sectional estimate of MetS prevalence using the IDF definition in 635 obese (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m(2)) individuals (286 men, 349 women) aged 19-78 years hospitalised for mass excess treatment.


MetS prevalence was significantly (p < 0.001) higher in males (75.9%) than in females (61.9%), due to the increased prevalence of 4/5 involved abnormalities. A multivariate binary logistic regression analysis disclosed a contributory independent effect of ageing (p < 0.01-0.001), but not of BMI, whereas large waist circumference (p < 0.01) and high waist-to-hip ratio (p < 0.01) contributed to MetS prevalence only in women. Affected individuals were significantly older (males p = 0.022; females p < 0.001), affected men being younger than affected women (p < 0.01). The prevailing clinical picture included all abnormalities (21.2% in men, 22.2% in women); in minimal trait MetS (3/5 abnormalities), the prevailing combination was, beside central obesity, hypertension-hyperglycaemia in men (12.4%), and hypertension-dyslipidemia in women (19.4%).


MetS is a highly prevalent condition among Italian obese individuals. Prevalence and combinations of involved abnormalities differ considerably between genders and suggest a different pathophysiology of the MetS in men and women, with possible relevance for prevention and treatment of the condition.

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