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Metabolic syndrome among Sri Lankan adults: prevalence, patterns and correlates

Prasad Katulanda12*, Priyanga Ranasinghe3, Ranil Jayawardana14, Rezvi Sheriff1 and David R Matthews2

Author Affiliations

1 Diabetes Research Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

2 Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

3 Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

4 Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome 2012, 4:24  doi:10.1186/1758-5996-4-24

Published: 31 May 2012


Metabolic Syndrome (MS) increases the risk for Coronary Artery Disease, stroke and diabetes. MS is twice more common amongst South Asian immigrants in US compared to native Caucasians. There are no nationally representative studies on prevalence of MS from any of the South Asian countries. The present study aims to evaluate the prevalence of MS among Sri Lankan adults and investigates its relationships with socio-demographic, clinical and biochemical parameters. Data on MS and its associated details were obtained from a population-based cross-sectional study conducted between years 2005–2006. MS was defined according to the International Diabetes Federation criteria. A binary logistic regression analysis was performed using the dichotomous variable MS (0 = absent, 1 = present). The independent co-variants were: gender, age category, area of residence, ethnicity, level of education, income and physical activity. Sample size was 4,485 (Response rate–89.7%), 39.5% were males and mean age was 46.1 ± 15.1 years. The crude prevalence of MS was 27.1% (95% CI: 25.8–28.5), and age-adjusted prevalence was 24.3% (95% CI: 23.0–25.6). Prevalence in males and females were 18.4% (95% CI: 16.5–20.3) and 28.3% (95% CI: 26.6–30.0) respectively (p < 0.001). Urban adults (34.8% [95% CI: 31.8–37.9]) had a significantly higher prevalence than rural adults (21.6% [95% CI: 20.2–23.0]). Among ethnic groups, the highest prevalence of MS was observed in Sri Lankan Moors (43.0% [95% CI: 37.2–48.9]). In all adults, MS was observed in those with the highest level of education and monthly household income. Prevalence of MS in the different physical activity categories of the IPAQ were; ‘inactive’–38.8% (95% CI 34.5-43.2), ‘moderately active’–33.5% (95% CI 30.9-36.1) and ‘active’–21.1% (95% CI 19.6-22.7). The results of the binary logistic regression analysis indicates that female gender (OR:1.7), increasing age, urban living (OR:1.7), Moor ethnicity (OR:2.6), secondary (OR:1.5) and tertiary levels of education (OR:2.3), monthly household income LKR 7,000–24,999 (OR:1.5) and >50,000 (OR:2.1), and physical inactivity (OR:1.6), all significantly increased risk of developing MS. MS is common among Sri Lankan adults affecting nearly one-fourth of the population. Female gender, increasing age, urban living, higher socio-economical status and physical inactivity were important associated factors.

Diabetes mellitus; Metabolic syndrome; Prevalence; Sri Lanka; Developing country; South Asia