The metabolic syndrome (MetS) represents a combination of cardiometabolic risk determinants including obesity (central adiposity), insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hypertension. MetS is rapidly increasing in prevalence worldwide as a consequence of the continued obesity “epidemic”, and as a result will have a considerable impact on the global incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Currently, there is debate concerning whether the risk of cardiovascular disease is greater in patients diagnosed with MetS than that of the sum of the individual risk factors. At present, no unifying origin that can explain the pathogenesis of MetS has been identified and therefore no unique pharmacological treatment is available. This review summarises and critically evaluates the current clinical and scientific evidence supporting the existence of MetS as a multifactorial endocrine disease, for which maternal nutrition may be a common pathogenic mechanism. In addition, we suggest that ectopic fat accumulation (such as visceral and hepatic fat accumulation) and the proinflammatory state are central to the development of the MetS
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