Metabolic syndrome (MS) is a complex disorder characterized by central obesity, dyslipidaemia, abnormal glucose tolerance and hypertension (1). Its pathophysiology remains obscure but it has been hypothesized to involve insulin resistance and a proinflammatory state (2,3). A survey on MS in the United States reported the prevalence at 24 per cent in adults, and found the cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality to be increased in men and risk of coronary disease increased in women (4). Hu et al (5) demonstrated that men with MS are 2-4 times more likely to die of any cause than those without MS, even after adjustment for conventional risk factors. Thus, considering the potential risks of MS, its public health importance is immense. Different criteria defining MS are available. The criteria proposed by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) (6) with revision in 2005 by the American Heart Association/ National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (updated ATP III) (7) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) (8) are widely accepted as these provide a differential profile for populations of Asian origin. These definitions lay emphasis on abdominal obesity (abdominal circumference of [greater than or equal to]90 and [greater than or equal to]80 cm respectively for men and women of Asian origin, and of 102 cm and 88 cm respectively for non Asians). The other criteria are triglyceride levels [greater than or equal to]150 mg/dl, high density lipoproteins (HDL) 40 mg/dl and 50mg/dl for men and women respectively, a systolic blood pressure [greater than or equal to]130 mm of mercury (Hg) or a diastolic blood pressure [greater than or equal to]85 mm of Hg, and fasting plasma glucose levels [greater than or equal to]100 mg/dl. Unlike the WHO criteria (9) for MS proposed earlier, the IDF and updated ATP definitions also have the advantage of being easily measurable and not requiring specialized investigations. The IDF (8) and updated ATP III7 criteria overlap and identify similar patients. The major difference between these is the necessity of central obesity for making a diagnosis; while the IDF definition needs central obesity plus any other two or more out of five criteria, the updated ATP III definition requires any three or more of the five criteria.