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Sociodemographic risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome in a Mediterranean population

  • Genevieve Buckland (a1), Jordi Salas-Salvadó (a2) (a3), Eulàlia Roure (a4), Mònica Bulló (a2) and Lluís Serra-Majem (a5)...



To investigate the sociodemographic risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS) in the Mediterranean population of Catalonia, Spain.

Design and setting

Data from the cross-sectional, population-based 2002–2003 Health Survey of Catalonia were analysed. The survey used a structured questionnaire to collect information on demographics, lifestyle and medical history. In a sub-sample of the original survey population anthropometrics and blood pressure were measured and blood samples were taken to determine HDL cholesterol, TAG and fasting glucose.


The analysis included the 1104 individuals aged 18–74 years from this sub-sample who had complete information on all variables necessary to define MetS using the National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria.


MetS prevalence was 28·5 % and 24·8 % according to IDF and ATP III criteria, respectively. MetS was significantly (P = 0·05) more common in males than females. MetS prevalence increased significantly (P<0·001) with age and degree of adiposity and as social class decreased. In general, MetS prevalence decreased as physical activity increased, which was significant (P = 0·0253) when applying ATP III criteria. After taking into account important confounders, MetS prevalence was significantly positively associated with male gender, age, BMI, physical inactivity and lower social class. Smoking status, marital status and working situation were not independently associated with MetS.


Age, sex, degree of adiposity, physical activity and social class are the sociodemographic risk factors independently associated with MetS in this Mediterranean population. Understanding which factors predict MetS is important considering likely increasing MetS trends, and is useful for determining public health strategies.

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