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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9531964, 6 pages
Research Article

Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in Central and South American Immigrant Residents of the Washington, DC, Area

1Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2Department of Family Science, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Saira A. Khan; ude.dmu@21nahks

Received 31 January 2017; Revised 16 May 2017; Accepted 28 May 2017; Published 4 July 2017

Academic Editor: Michael B. Zemel

Copyright © 2017 Regina M. Gill et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) and its risk components and then compare differences in the risk components among low-income, uninsured Central and South American recent immigrants to the USA. This cross-sectional survey sampled 1,042 adult patients from a medical clinic in metropolitan Washington, DC. The overall prevalence of the MetS was 26.9% estimated using the modified harmonized definition. The most common abnormal metabolic indicator for women was an elevated BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 (36.1%), while, for men, it was an elevated triglyceride level (46.5%). The risk of abnormal MetS indicators increased steadily with increasing BMI. The abnormal indicator combination identifying the most subjects with the MetS included the following: high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and obesity. MetS rates were highest among subjects from El Salvador and Honduras, 31.3% and 28.0%, respectively, and lowest among subjects from Bolivia (21.7%). Dyslipidemia and high BMI increased the likelihood of having the MetS, which is consistent with studies on Mexican Americans in the San Antonio Heart Study and studies within Central and South American countries. This study adds new baseline epidemiological data for largely understudied, low-income, and mostly recent immigrant groups.