Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Among an Urban Population in Kenya
Bore, J. K.
Bukania, Z. N.
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OBJECTIVE Developing countries are undergoing an epidemiologic transition accompanied by increasing burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) linked to urbanization and lifestyle modifications. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of CVD risk factors whose extent in Kenya remains unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and factors associated with its occurrence among an urban population in Kenya. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS This was a household cross-sectional survey comprising 539 adults (aged ≥18 years) living in Nairobi, drawn from 30 clusters across five socioeconomic classes. Measurements included waist circumference, HDL cholesterol, triacylglycerides (TAGs), fasting glucose, and blood pressure. RESULTS The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 34.6% and was higher in women than in men (40.2 vs. 29%; P < 0.001). The most frequently observed features were raised blood pressure, a higher waist circumference, and low HDL cholesterol (men: 96.2, 80.8, and 80%; women: 89.8, 97.2, and 96.3%, respectively), whereas raised fasting glucose and TAGs were observed less frequently (men: 26.9 and 63.3%; women: 26.9 and 30.6%, respectively). The main factors associated with the presence of metabolic syndrome were increasing age, socioeconomic status, and education. CONCLUSIONS Metabolic syndrome is prevalent in this urban population, especially among women, but the incidence of individual factors suggests that poor glycemic control is not the major contributor. Longitudinal studies are required to establish true causes of metabolic syndrome in Kenya. The Kenyan government needs to create awareness, develop prevention strategies, and strengthen the health care system to accommodate screening and management of CVDs.