Ethnic Differences in the Metabolic Syndrome

  • Nicola Abate
  • Manisha Chandalia


The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome has been shown to differ in various populations around the world and among ethnic groups within the same geographical areas. For example, whereas about 25% of the entire US population has the metabolic syndrome, a much larger prevalence is observed in Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and blacks. These differences contribute to the excessive risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease reported in US minority groups. Details on the mechanisms for ethnic differences in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome are not yet completely elucidated. However, susceptibility to central obesity and insulin resistance may play a major contributing role.


Insulin Resistance Metabolic Syndrome Ethnic Group Ethnic Difference Abdominal Obesity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Ervin RB: Prevalence of metabolic syndrome among adults 20 years of age and over, by sex, age, race and ethnicity, and body mass index: United States, 2003–2006. Natl Health Stat Report 2009, 13:1–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Centers for Disease Prevention and Control: Early release of selected estimates based on data from the 2004 National Health Interview Survey. Available at Accessed February 2010.
  3. 3.
    Anderson SE, Whitaker RC: Prevalence of obesity among US preschool children in different racial and ethnic groups. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2009, 163:344–348.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ogden CL, Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Johnson CL: Prevalence and trends in overweight among US children and adolescents, 1999–2000. JAMA 2002, 288:1728–1732.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hedley AA, Ogden CL, Johnson CL, et al.: Prevalence of overweight and obesity among US children, adolescents, and adults, 1999–2002. JAMA 2004, 291:2847–2850.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Flegal KM: High body mass index for age among US children and adolescents, 2003–2006. JAMA 2008, 299:2401–2405.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Grundy SM, Cleeman JI, Daniels SR, et al.: Diagnosis and management of the metabolic syndrome: an American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Scientific Statement. Circulation 2005, 112:2735–2752.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    International Diabetes Federation: The IDF consensus worldwide definition of the metabolic syndrome. Available at Accessed February 2010.
  9. 9.
    Guerrero R, Vega GL, Grundy SM, Browning JD: Ethnic differences in hepatic steatosis: an insulin resistance paradox? Hepatology 2009, 49:791–801.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zhu S, Heymsfield SB, Toyoshima H, et al.: Race-ethnicity-specific waist circumference cutoffs for identifying cardiovascular disease risk factors. Am J Clin Nutr 2005, 81:409–415.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chandalia M, Lin P, Seenivasan T, et al.: Insulin resistance and body fat distribution in South Asian men compared to Caucasian men. PLoS ONE 2007, 2:e812.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    McNeely MJ, Boyko EJ, Shofer JB, et al.: Standard definitions of overweight and central adiposity for determining diabetes risk in Japanese Americans. Am J Clin Nutr 2001, 74:101–107.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Deurenberg-Yap M, Chew SK, Deurenberg P: Elevated body fat percentage and cardiovascular risks at low body mass index levels among Singaporean Chinese, Malays and Indians. Obes Rev 2002, 3:209–215.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Popkin BM, Siega-Riz AM, Haines PS: A comparison of dietary trends among racial and socioeconomic groups in the United States. N Engl J Med 1996, 335:716–720.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Chronic Disease in Minority Populations. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service; 1994.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Winkleby MA, Kraemer HC, Ahn DK, Varady AN: Ethnic and socioeconomic differences in cardiovascular disease risk factors: findings for women from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–1994. JAMA 1998, 280:356–362.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mooy JM, de Vries H, Grootenhuis PA, et al.: Major stressful life events in relation to prevalence of undetected type 2 diabetes: the Hoorn Study. Diabetes Care 2000, 23:197–201.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hales CN, Barker DJ, Clark PM, et al.: Fetal and infant growth and impaired glucose tolerance at age 64. BMJ 1991, 303:1019–1022.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Li C, Johnson MS, Goran MI: Effects of low birth weight on insulin resistance syndrome in Caucasian and African-American children. Diabetes Care 2001, 24:2035–2042.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Willemsen RH, Leunissen RW, Stijnen T, Hokken-Koelega AC: Prematurity is not associated with reduced insulin sensitivity in adulthood. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2009, 94:1695–1700.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola Abate
    • 1
  • Manisha Chandalia
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonTexas

Personalised recommendations