Background: Metabolic syndrome (METS) is a strong predictor of cardiovascular risk. Since the prevalence of METS increases after menopause, gynecological routine consultation offers an excellent screening opportunity. Objectives: To assess the prevalence of METS in Latin American postmenopausal women and factors modifying its risk; as well as to assess the role of simple routine care measurements in the diagnosis of the METS. Methods: A total of 3965 postmenopausal women, aged 45-64 years, seeking health care at 12 gynecological centers in major Latin American cities were included in this cross-sectional study. The US National Cholesterol Education Programme Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) guidelines were applied to assess METS. This was present if three or more of the following conditions were present: waist circumference ≥ 88 cm; blood pressure ≥ 130/85 mmHg; fasting plasma triglycerides ≥ 150 mg/dl; high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol < 50 mg/dl; glucose ≥ 110 mg/dl or subjects were receiving treatment for their condition. Results: The prevalences of having at least two, three, four or five components were 62.5, 35.1, 13.5 and 3.2%, respectively. The prevalence increased from 28.1% in those aged 40-44 years to 42.9% in those aged 60-64 years. The risk of METS detection (multivariate analysis) increased with age (odds ratio (OR) 1.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03-1.43), time elapsed since menopause (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.00-1.38), smoking cigarettes (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.19-1.65), obesity (OR 13.01, 95% CI 10.93-15.49) and hypertension (OR 9.30, 95% CI 7.91-10.94). In contrast, hormone therapy reduces this risk (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.51-0.70). Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal Latin American women seeking gynecologic health care. Age, years since menopause, obesity and hypertension are strong predictors of this condition. © 2007 International Menopause Society.