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To assess the available data on the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MS) in Latin-American countries.
Systematic review. Searches were carried out in PubMed, ISIWeb, SCielo and Redalyc, using ‘metabolic syndrome x’ and ‘prevalence’ as keywords for titles and/or abstracts. Articles selected were cross-sectional studies in Latin-American countries, whose main objective was to study MS and whose study population is described below. MS must be determined using Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. Twelve studies with these criteria were selected, one of which was multi-centric.
Apparently healthy subjects aged 18–65 years (including young adult, mature adult and elderly populations) of both genders.
The general prevalence (weighted mean) of MS in Latin-American countries was 24·9 (range: 18·8–43·3) %. MS was slightly more frequent in women (25·3 %) than in men (23·2 %), and the age group with the highest prevalence of MS consisted of those over 50 years of age. The most frequent components of MS were low HDL cholesterol levels (62·9 %) and abdominal obesity (45·8 %). Similar outcomes were obtained from the multi-centre study on Latin-American populations analysed.
The present review brings us closer to an understanding of the prevalence of MS in Latin-American countries. However, it is not possible to know the full scope of the problem, partly because data from some countries are not available, and because the methodological differences among the studies published up to the present limit a joint analysis of their results.
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