Using principal component analysis to develop a single-parameter screening tool for metabolic syndrome

Chia-Hao Chang; Ching-Ho Yen; Mei-Yen Chen
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p708
Academic Journal
Background: Metabolic syndrome (MS) is an important current public health problem faced worldwide. To prevent an "epidemic" of this syndrome, it is important to develop an easy single-parameter screening technique (such as waist circumference (WC) determination recommended by the International Diabetes Federation). Previous studies proved that age is a chief factor corresponding to central obesity. We intended to present a new index based on the linear combination of body mass index, and age, which could enhance the area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs) for assessing the risk of MS. Methods: The labour law of the Association of Labor Standard Law, Taiwan, states that employers and employees are respectively obligated to offer and receive routine health examination periodically. Secondary data analysis and subject's biomarkers among five high-tech factories were used in this study between 2007 and 2008 in northern Taiwan. The subjects included 4712 males and 4196 females. The first principal component score (FPCS) and equalweighted average (EWA) were determined by statistical analysis. Results: Most of the metabolic and clinical characteristics were significantly higher in males than in females, except high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level. The older group (>45 years) had significantly lower values for height and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level than the younger group. The AUCs of FPCS and EWA were significantly larger than those of WC and waist-to-height ratio. The low specificities of EWA and FPCS were compensated for by their substantially high sensitivities. FPCS ≥ 0.914 (15.4%) and EWA ≥ 8.8 (6.3%) were found to be the most prevalent cut off points in males and females, respectively. Conclusions: The Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health, Taiwan, had recommended the use of WC ≥ 90 cm for males and ≥ 80 cm for females as singular criteria for the determination of central obesity instead of multiple parameters. The present investigation suggests that FPCS or EWA is a good predictor of MS among the Taiwanese. However, the use of FPCS is not computationally feasible in practice. Therefore, we suggest that EWA be used in clinical practice as a simple parameter for the identification of those at risk of MS.


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