The metabolic syndrome represents a specific clustering of cardiovascular risk factors in the same individual (abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance, a prothrombotic state, and a proinflammatory state). Almost 50 million American adults (about one in four) have the metabolic syndrome, which puts them at increased risk for the development of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. African Americans, especially African-American women, have a high prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. This is attributable mainly to the disproportionate occurrence in African Americans of elevated blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Management of the metabolic syndrome consists primarily of modification or reversal of the root causes (overweight/obesity and physical inactivity) and therapy to reduce or control the risk factors. Although all components of the metabolic syndrome should be addressed, optimal control of atherogenic dyslipidemia and elevated blood pressure may reduce cardiovascular risk by more than 80%. Copyright © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.