The proportion of the Latin American population aged >60 years is expected to double during the next few decades. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with high morbidity and mortality worldwide. However, little is known about MetS in Latin America in general, and in Ecuador in particular. The present study aimed to examine the prevalence of MetS and its association with blood micronutrient, homocysteine (Hcy) and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations in the elderly living in a low-income urban area.
We performed a cross-sectional study. MetS, using the International Diabetes Federation definition, dietary intake and plasma micronutrient, CRP and Hcy concentrations were assessed.
A total of 352 elderly (≥65 years) Ecuadorians.
MetS was prevalent (40 %) – considerably more so among women (81 %) than men (19 %; χ2 = 32·6, P < 0·0001). Further, 53 % of those without MetS exhibited two or more of its components. Micronutrient deficiencies were prevalent, including those of vitamin C, zinc, vitamin B12 and folate. Vitamin C and E concentrations were inversely (OR = 0·78, 95 % CI 0·71, 0·86; OR = 0·16, 95 % CI 0·03, 0·81, respectively) and CRP (OR = 1·79, 95 % CI 1·04, 3·06) was positively associated with MetS.
The coexistence of MetS with micronutrient deficiencies suggests that elderly Ecuadorians suffer from the double burden of diseases that are increasingly being observed in less developed countries. More research is needed to determine the causal factors, but results presented suggest that these older adults would benefit from interventions to reduce the risk factors for MetS, in particular higher consumption of micronutrient-rich foods.
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