Metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) represents a clustering of different metabolic abnormalities. MetSyn prevalence is present in approximately 25% of all adults with increased prevalence in advanced ages. The presence of one component of MetSyn increases the risk of developing MetSyn later in life and likely represents a high lifetime burden of cardiovascular disease risk. Therefore we pooled data from multiple studies to establish the prevalence of MetSyn and MetSyn component prevalence across a broad range of ethnicities. PubMed, SCOPUS and Medline databases were searched to find papers presenting MetSyn and MetSyn component data for 18–30 year olds who were apparently healthy, free of disease, and MetSyn was assessed using either the harmonized, National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATPIII), American Heart Association/National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute (AHA/NHBLI), or International Diabetes Federation (IDF) definitions of MetSyn. After reviewing returned articles, 26,609 participants’ data from 34 studies were included in the analysis and the data were pooled. MetSyn was present in 4.8–7% of young adults. Atherogenic dyslipidaemia defined as low high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was the most prevalent MetSyn component (26.9–41.2%), followed by elevated blood pressure (16.6–26.6%), abdominal obesity (6.8–23.6%), atherogenic dyslipidaemia defined as raised triglycerides (8.6–15.6%), and raised fasting glucose (2.8–15.4%). These findings highlight that MetSyn is prevalent in young adults. Establishing the reason why low HDL is the most prevalent component may represent an important step in promoting primary prevention of MetSyn and reducing the incidence of subsequent clinical disease.