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Keywords:

  • metabolic syndrome;
  • middle-aged women;
  • population screening;
  • socio-demographic factors;
  • psychosocial factors

Aim: The aim was to analyse any associations between socio-demographic and psychosocial factors and different features of the metabolic syndrome in a geographically well-defined population of middle-aged women.

Methods: A population of 10 766 Caucasian women aged 50–59 years was investigated regarding biological and socio-demographic conditions, physical activity, dietary habits, aspects of quality of life, and subjective physical and mental symptoms. The screening instrument was used to discriminate subjects as positive or negative on one or more of a total of eight variables considered to be linked to the metabolic syndrome. The cut-off values for positive screening were non-fasting capillary blood glucose ≥ 8.0 mmol/l and serum triglycerides ≥ 2.3 mmo/l, BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, WHR ≥ 0.90, blood pressure ≥ 160 and/or 95 mmHg, a family history of diabetes, and pharmacological treatment for hypertension or hyperlipidaemia.

Results: Altogether 6805 women (63.2%) participated: 3535 with positive and 3270 with negative screening. Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that comprehensive (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.41–1.87) and upper secondary (1.40, 1.24–1.57) school, low physical quality of life (1.41, 1.23–1.61) and high sum of subjective physical symptoms (1.06, 1.04–1.08) were positively associated with one or more features of the metabolic syndrome, while high leisure-time exercise and healthy diet (0.84, 0.71–0.99), and low (≤ 83 g/week) (0.71, 0.63–0.81) and moderate (84–167 g/week) (0.78, 0.65–0.93) alcohol consumption were negatively associated.

Conclusions: To identify middle-aged women with cardiovascular risk factors and high risk for diabetes, it is important to consider not only biological, but also socio-demographic and psychosocial conditions.