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Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a growing problem in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Moreover, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is rapidly increasing in the UAE especially among young females. However, few studies have evaluated the prevalence of MetS among young female adults in the UAE. This study determined the prevalence of MetS in Emirati females aged 17-25 years and its relation to overweight and obesity.In total, 555 Emirati female college students were enrolled in a cross-sectional study, conducted during 2013-2014 at United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, UAE. Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure and biochemical measurements were collected. MetS was defined according to the harmonised International Diabetes Federation criteria.Of the 555 participants enrolled, 23.1% were overweight and 10.4% were classified as obese. The overall prevalence of MetS was 6.8%. MetS prevalence was highest among obese participants (34.5%), as compared with normal-weight (1.7%) and overweight (10.1%) participants. MetS was significantly associated with overweight (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 3.8, 95% confidence interval [CI]; 1.15-12.52) and obesity (aOR = 11.2, 95% CI; 3.1-40.9), as compared with normal-weight. Waist-hip ratio ≥ 0.8 (aOR = 3.04, 95% CI; 1.10-8.44) was significantly associated with MetS, as compared with waist-hip ratio <0.8. The odds of MetS were 22 fold higher in participants with glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) ≥ 6.5% (aOR = 22.5, 95% CI; 6.37-79.42) compared to HbA1c <6.5%. This difference was 9 fold higher when HbA1c between 5.6%-6.4% was compared to HbA1c <5.6% (aOR = 8.9, 95% CI; 3.4-23.5).The prevalence of MetS among obese Emirati female students was significantly higher than overweight and normal weight students. The high prevalence of MetS highlights the importance of regular screening and intervention programmes targeting weight reduction.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One


Public Library of Science

Publication Date





e0159378 - e0159378


Nutrition and Health Department, College of Food and Agriculture, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE.