BACKGROUND Metabolic syndrome (MS) is combination of medical disorders that increase people's risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Little data exists on the prevalence of MS of rural original adults in Ningxia of China. METHODS A cross-sectional survey method was used and the participants were interviewed by trained health workers under a structured questionnaire in rural of Ningxia in 2008. The number of research subjects was 1612. MS was defined by International Diabetes Federation IDF (2005). RESULTS The age-adjusted prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 11.8%, whereas ethnic-specific prevalence was 10.3% in Han ethnic group and 13.7% in Hui ethnic group. Components of MS and MS were more common in Hui ethnic group than Han ethnic group. The mean levels and prevalence of abnormal value increased with increasing age in both ethnic groups (Cochran-Artimage test for trend, Hui ethnic group P < 0.05, Han ethnic group P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS The prevalence of MS was high in rural residents' adults in Ningxia. Clustering of MS components and MS was increased with age. The components of MS have big differences among different ethnic groups.
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