Prevalence and Correlates of Metabolic Syndrome Among Adults Attending Healthcare Facilities in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Eyitayo Omolara Owolabi1, *, Daniel Ter Goon1, Oladele Vincent Adeniyi2, Aanuoluwa O. Adedokun1, Eunice Seekoe1
1 Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
2 Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, East London Hospital Complex, East London, South Africa

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© 2017 Owolabi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa, Tel: +27730719622; E-mail:


Background and Aim:

Urbanisation and westernisation have greatly influenced the metabolic health of individuals in South Africa, with resultant increase in metabolic syndrome (METs) components. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with METs among adults in Buffalo City Municipality, East London, South Africa.


This was a healthcare facility-based cross-sectional, descriptive study. The World Health Organisation STEPwise demographic and lifestyle behavioural questionnaire was used to collect relevant data from 998 participants. Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose were measured using standardised protocols. Metabolic syndrome was diagnosed using the International Diabetes Federation criteria.


The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 21.8%; 15.6% and 24.8% among males and females, respectively. The prevalence of METs was higher among participants who were aged 56 years and above, with low level of education (grade 1 – 7), married and retired. After adjusting for confounders, only age 26 and above (AOR=4.1, CI=2.0-8.4), marriage (AOR=2.3 CI=1.6-3.3), female sex (AOR=1.6, CI=1.1-2.4), alcohol use (AOR=2.0, CI= 1.3-3.1), unemployment (AOR=1.8, CI= 1.2-2.6) and earning an income below ZAR1200 (AOR= 1.1, CI= 1.1-2.4) were significant and independent predictors of METs. Participants aged 26 and above were four times more likely to have METs. Married non-alcohol users and unemployed participants were two times more likely to have METs than unmarried alcohol users and employed individuals.


There was a high prevalence of metabolic syndrome among the participants which indicates a high risk for cardiovascular diseases; a leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: Metabolic syndrome, Obesity, Dysglycaemia, Hypertension, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality.