Metabolic syndrome in Poland – the PONS Study

Imre Janszky 1,  
Lars Vatten 1,  
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health, University Medical Centre, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Cancer Centre and Institute of Oncology, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2011;18(2):270–272
Introduction: In Central and Eastern European countries, cardiovascular disorders (CVD) in middle age are much more common than in Western Europe, and it is imperative to understand the causes underlying this excess disease burden. The metabolic syndrome comprises a constellation of metabolic abnormalities that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Methods: Data were obtained by structured interview, and by measurements of anthropometric factors and blood analyses among 3,862 individuals. Metabolic syndrome was defined according the International Diabetes Federation Task Force on Epidemiology and Prevention, as the presence of at least 3 of 5 abnormalities: 1) abdominal obesity, 2) glucose intolerance, 3) high triglycerides, 4) low HDL cholesterol, 5) high blood pressure. Results: Overall, 1,518 participants (39.5%) had metabolic syndrome. The prevalence among females was 34.3% (877 females) vs. 49.9% (641 males) among males, and increased with age in both genders. Abdominal obesity was the most common abnormality (2,897 participants, 75.1%), followed by high blood pressure (2,741 participants, 71%), glucose intolerance (1,437 participants, 37.3%), elevated triglycerides (817 participants, 21.2%) and low HDL (615 participants, 15.9%). Conclusion: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome and metabolic abnormalities is high and represents strong risk factors for CVD morbidity and mortality. However, these factors are all potentially preventable by lifestyle modification and/or by pharmacological treatment. There is an urgent need for the health service to act, and to increase public awareness of metabolic syndrome.