Little is known regarding the development of metabolic syndrome. This study examining gender difference in the characteristics of metabolic components aimed to estimate the development of metabolic syndrome in both genders. This nation-wide, population-based survey included 5,880 men and women aged 20-79 years in Taiwan. Metabolic syndrome was defined by the revised National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III, with adoption of the Asian criteria for abdominal obesity. The results indicate that metabolic syndrome was prevalent in 20.4% of the men and 15.3% of the women. Lipid components occurred the earliest in both genders. The appearance of the first isolated component was earlier in women than in men (mean age 43.4 vs. 45.6 years, P <0.05). In contrast, the mean prevalent age of metabolic syndrome appeared earlier in men than in women by 4.9 years (mean age 51.3 vs. 56.2 years, P <0.05). The differences in prevalent age from the appearance of any isolated component to metabolic syndrome were 12.8 years in women and 5.7 years in men, respectively. If men had a body mass index less than 23 kg/m 2 and exercise habits, the difference in the prevalent age from the isolated component to metabolic syndrome was 15.4 years, longer than for all women subjects. We conclude lipid components appeared the earliest. Women had the first isolated component earlier, presenting as metabolic syndrome later than men. The development of metabolic syndrome was slower in subjects without overweight characteristics and with exercise habits.
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