Metabolic Syndrome

33% of US Adults Have Metabolic Syndrome

Nearly a third of Americans have metabolic syndrome, but prevalence of the condition appear to be leveling off, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

“Understanding updated prevalence trends may be important given the potential effect of the metabolic syndrome and its associated health complications on the aging US population,” researchers wrote.

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Metabolic syndrome was defined as having 3 or more of the following:

  • Waist circumference >102 cm in men >88 cm in women
  • Serum level of triglycerides of 150 mg/dL or greater
  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol of <40mg/dL in men or <50mg/dL in women
  • Systolic/diastolic blood pressure of 130/85 mmHg or greater or use of hypertension medication
  • Fasting plasma glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater or use of diabetes mellitus medication

Overall, prevalence rose from 32.9% in 2003-2004 to 34.7% in 2011-2012,but has remained stable without significant change since 2007-2008, according to NHANES data.

While the overall prevalence among women dropped during the study period (39.4% in 2007-2008 vs. 36.6% in 2011-2012), they were still more likely to be affected by the condition than men (33% in 2011-2012).

Rates among adults 60 years and older were 46% between 2003 and 2012, and 18.3% in adults 20 to 39 years old.

—Michael Potts


Aguilar M, Bhuket T, Torres S, et al. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in the United States, 2003-2012. JAMA. 2015;313(19):1973-1974