The metabolic syndrome is becoming a global public health issue. Those affected have higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke – as well as of dying from such an event – compared with people without the syndrome. This cluster of factors is closely linked with the worldwide increases in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. The resulting premature deaths and disabilities are set to cripple health budgets in both developed and developing countries. Criteria for diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome entail a combination of cardio-metabolic risk factors.