Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome and Its Components in Brazilian University Students

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Marta Maria Coelho Damasceno, PhD1
Márcio Flávio Moura Araújo, MS2
Roberto Wagner Freire Freitas, MS2
Maria L. Zanetti, PhD, RN3
Paulo C. Almeida, PhD4
(1)Federal University of Ceará, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil
(2)Nursing of Department, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil
(3)School of Nursing, University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
(4)Nursing Department, Ceara State University, Fortaleza-CE, Brazil

Learning Objective 1: Identify the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components in a population of university students from a public higher education institution in Fortaleza-Brazil.

Learning Objective 2: Associate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components with gender and the body mass index.


The purpose of this study is to provide data about the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in university students of a Brazilian city. 


Cross-sectional study undertaken with 702 Brazilian university students between January to July 2011.Sociodemographic indicators, life style and the metabolic syndrome components were assessed. ANOVA and Chi-square statistical tests were applied to associate gender with the components of metabolic syndrome and in the association between the number of components of metabolic syndrome with gender and body mass index.  


702 university students took part in the present study, 62.7% were women, 49.3% brown, 92.0%, single and 53.3% were aged from 20 to 24 years. Age varied from 18 to 58 years, with an average of 21.5 years (DP: 1.57). Most of the participants belonged to the human sciences area, 20.4% and 69.1% novice. High values of fasting venous blood glucose, triglicerides, total cholesterol and LDL-C were found in 12.3%, 23.0%, 9.7% and 5.9%, respectively. What regards metabolic syndrome, its prevalence in the sample analyzed was 1.7%. However, 30.4% and 12.4% of the students presented at least 1 or 2 individual components, respectively. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome was higher in men (58.3%) and in those with overweight (33.3%) and obesity (41.7%). Public health policies should be elaborated in order to reduce the vulnerability of university students regarding metabolic syndrome.  


Most of the university students that presented ≥ 3 components of metabolic syndrome were males and already presented overweight and/or obesity.