Ethnic disparities in metabolic syndrome in malaysia: an analysis by risk factors
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Abstract Background: This study investigates ethnic disparities in metabolic syndrome in Malaysia. Methods: Data were obtained from the Malaysia Non-Communicable Disease Surveillance-1 (2005/2006). Logistic regressions of metabolic syndrome health risks on sociodemographic and health-lifestyle factors were conducted using a multiracial (Malay, Chinese, and Indian and other ethnic groups) sample of 2,366 individuals. Results: Among both males and females, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome amongst Indians was larger compared to both Malays and Chinese because Indians are more likely to exhibit central obesity, elevated fasting blood glucose, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. We also found that Indians tend to engage in less physical activity and consume fewer fruits and vegetables than Malays and Chinese. Although education and family history of chronic disease are associated with metabolic syndrome status, differences in socioeconomic attributes do not explain ethnic disparities in metabolic syndrome incidence. The difference in metabolic syndrome prevalence between Chinese and Malays was not statistically significant. Whereas both groups exhibited similar obesity rates, ethnic Chinese were less likely to suffer from high fasting blood glucose. Conclusions: Metabolic syndrome disproportionately affects Indians in Malaysia. Additionally, fasting blood glucose rates differ dramatically amongst ethnic groups. Attempts to decrease health disparities among ethnic groups in Malaysia will require greater attention to improving the metabolic health of Malays, especially Indians, by encouraging healthful lifestyle changes.