PURPOSE: This study was to identify knowledge, perception and health behavior about metabolic syndrome for an at risk group in a rural community area. METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional survey design was used. A total of 575 adults with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and/or abdominal obesity were recruited from 11 rural community health care centers. A questionnaire was developed for this study. Anthropometric measures were measured and blood data was reviewed from the health record. RESULTS: Knowledge about the metabolic syndrome was low as evidenced by only a 47% correct answer rate. Only 9% of the subjects ever heard about the disease, and 87% answered they do not know the disease at all. 87% of the subjects were not performing regular exercise, 31% drank alcohol more than once a month, 12.5% were current smokers, and 33.6% are did not have a regular health check-up. CONCLUSION: Development of systematic public health care programs are needed to prevent future increases in cardiovascular complications and to decrease health care costs. These might include educational programs for the primary health care provider and an at risk group, a therapeutic lifestyle modification program, and a health screening program to identify potential groups.
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