Metabolic syndrome—a set of health conditions including high blood pressure and too much abdominal fat that increase risk for stroke and heart disease—now affects more than one in three U.S. adults, according to a new study in JAMA.
The study, which used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the U.S. increased from 32.9% in 2003-2004 to 34.7% in 2011-2012. It stayed steady between 2007-2008 and 2011-2012—a leveling off likely due to increased awareness about the risks of metabolic syndrome, the researchers write. Obesity prevalence, which is closely linked to the condition, has also stabilized, they note.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome varied between people of different racial backgrounds. Hispanics had the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome at 39%, followed by whites at 37.4% and blacks at 35.5%.