Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Dolores G. Clement


The metabolic syndrome, a clinical condition linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease is a powerful predictor for overall mortality, and is present in more than 20% of the US. population (Ford, Giles, & Dietz, 2002). This study examines gender differences as well as other factors associated with metabolic syndrome as defined by the Adult Treatment Panel III of the National Cholesterol Education Program.

A sample of 10,134 adults between 20-64 years of age was selected from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey. Metabolic syndrome was present in 19.6 % of this sample. An ecological model of health services was used to analyze metabolic syndrome. The four model domains include population characteristics, environmental factors, health behaviors, and utilization of health care services.

The descriptive results showed statistically significant differences in individuals with metabolic syndrome and without metabolic syndrome. Those with metabolic syndrome were proportionately more older, reported a past medical history of cardiovascular disease and family history of diabetes, had lower levels of education and a lower annual household income. There were no differences between men and women in age, geographic residence, education or health insurance coverage. However, there were higher proportions of women with metabolic syndrome in all race categories when compared to men with metabolic syndrome with the exception of Caucasians. A family history of diabetes, a family history of cardiovascular disease, a past personal history of cardiovascular disease, level of income, habitual activity and having a usual source of health care were found to be statistically significant between men and women with metabolic syndrome.

Results of the logistic regression analysis revealed that overall, women were 30% less likely to have metabolic syndrome, yet African American women and Hispanic American women were nearly twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome than Caucasian women. Further research on gender differences for shared medical conditions is needed.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


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