Date of Award


Degree Name



Public Health


Maria Duarte-Gardea


Metabolic syndrome (MetS) consists of a group of associated risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other related chronic diseases. In the U.S. it is estimated that nearly 35% of the adult population have metabolic syndrome. According to National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines risk factors for developing MetS include large waistline, high blood pressure, high triglyceride level, low high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level, and elevated fasting blood glucose level. The goal of this study was to investigate the prevalence of risk factors for MetS among uninsured, low socioeconomic status adult Hispanics in El Paso, Texas. The study population resided in the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) housing complexes with the City boundaries.

A cross-sectional study gathered data including socio-demographic information, and biometric and biochemical indicators for MetS from 657 uninsured Hispanic residents in HACEP residential complexes. Socio-demographic information gathered included age, sex, ethnicity, place of residency, educational level, occupational status, marital status, and perceived health status. Biometric and biochemical measurements gathered from all participants included waist circumference, diastolic and systolic blood pressure, and triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, and glucose levels gathered using a Cholestech LDX ® Analyzer. Participants were categorized with MetS when they had 3 or more of the previously mentioned risk factors.

The majority of participants (87%), had an income between $0 and $19,999 and (68%); didn't earn a high school degree and approximately one third (33%) were homemakers. The majority perceived their health status as either "good" (39%) or "fair" (36%). The most prevalent risk factors for MetS were a large waistline (64%), high triglycerides (55%), and low HDL-cholesterol (55%). High blood pressure (40%) and elevated fasting blood glucose (40%) were less prevalent. Having a large waistline was significantly higher in women (68%) compared to men (43%). The overall prevalence of MetS in the study population was 53%. Logistic regression showed that MetS gradually increases with age from groups between 40 and 49 years old (OR 3.90, df=10, p<0.001), to groups from 50 and 59 years old (OR 5.68, df=10, p<0.001), and those 60 or older (OR 6.42, df=10, p<001). Also, not being employed (OR 1.15, df=10, p=0.010), and a fair or poor perceived health status (OR 2.06, df=10, p<0.001) were associated with increased odds of having MetS. A fair or poor perceived health status seems to be overall a good and cost-effective predictor for risk factors for MetS.

Compared to national rates, this study reports that Hispanics in the El Paso region, which comprise 81% of the population in El Paso, have a much higher prevalence of risk factors for MetS, which implies the need for better preventive strategies. A fair or poor perceived health status seems to be overall a good and cost-effective predictor for risk factors for MetS. People without access to healthcare should be a priority group for interventions focused on preventing the development and the mitigation of risk factors for MetS; particularly, reducing high triglycerides while improving low HDL-cholesterol levels, and among women weight loss to decrease their waistline.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

62 pages

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Rights Holder

Juan Antonio Aguilera