Background This study investigated the prevalence of risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) among individuals of Japanese descent exposed to different cultural environments.
Design A cross-sectional study to assess component risk factors for the diagnosis of MetSyn was undertaken in urban areas in Japan and Brazil. A total of 773 men and women aged 35 years or over were included in three groups: 249 native Japanese, 269 Brazilian individuals of Japanese ancestry residing in Japan, and 255 Brazilian individuals of Japanese ancestry residing in Brazil.
Results Higher rates of metabolic abnormalities with respect to central obesity and serum lipid profiles were observed among Brazilian individuals of Japanese ancestry residing in Brazil compared with those residing in Japan and native Japanese. Likewise, an increased risk of hypertension was observed among Japanese Brazilian individuals residing in Japan. The prevalence of MetSyn in men was significantly higher among Brazilians of Japanese ancestry residing in Brazil (37.5%) compared with those residing in Japan (25.3%) or native Japanese (21.4%), whereas no significant difference was observed among women. In the logistic model, Brazilian individuals of Japanese ancestry residinginBrazil weretwice as likely to develop MetSyn compared with native Japanese, whereas no significant differences were found among those residing in Japan.
Conclusions These findings underscore the significant heterogeneity in risk factors among communities of Japanese ancestry residing in Brazil and Japan, and suggest that immigrants exposed to the Brazilian cultural environment are more susceptible to the development of risk factors associated with MetSyn than native Japanese.