Metabolic Syndrome in Portugal: Prevalence and Associated Factors

Ricardo Alves, Ana João Santos, Irina Kislaya, Baltazar Nunes, Ana Cristina Freire


Introduction: The metabolic syndrome consists of a set of factors that, when associated, are associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, and is thus an important public health problem. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of this syndrome in the Portuguese population, and to evaluate possible associations with demographic and socioeconomic determinants.
Material and Methods: Based on the 1st National Health Survey with Physical Examination of 2015, a cross-sectional epidemiological study was conducted on a representative sample of the Portuguese population (n = 4797) aged between 25 and 74 years old. The prevalence was estimated for the total population and each gender, stratified by age group, health region, type of urban area, marital status, education, professional status, and risk of poverty. The magnitude of the associations was measured with adjusted prevalence ratios.
Results: In the Portuguese population the estimated prevalence was 33.4% [95% CI, 31.7 – 35.1] [35.6% in men (95% CI, 31.9 – 39.2) and 31.3% in women (95% CI, 28.5 – 34.2)]. In both genders, the highest prevalence was significantly associated with increasing age, widowed/married/de facto partners and those with lower levels of education. There was no association with gender, health region, type of urban area, professional status or risk of poverty.
Discussion: This syndrome was present in a third of the Portuguese population. The knowledge of its epidemiology enables the identification of population groups with higher cardiovascular and metabolic risk.
Conclusion: Metabolic syndrome was independently associated with specific groups. This knowledge reinforces the importance of a holistic assessment of the health determinants associated with the metabolic syndrome.


Metabolic Syndrome/epidemiology; Portugal; Prevalence

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