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, 33 (2), 328-36

The Metabolic Syndrome and Associated Lifestyle Factors Among South Korean Adults


The Metabolic Syndrome and Associated Lifestyle Factors Among South Korean Adults

Hye Soon Park et al. Int J Epidemiol.


Introduction: The importance of managing the metabolic syndrome has been emphasized in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Although South Koreans have a low prevalence of obesity, little information is available about the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its associated risk factors.

Methods: Data was obtained from individuals aged 20-79 years from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1998, a cross-sectional health survey of a nationally representative sample of non-institutionalized civilian South Koreans. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, as defined by the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel (NCEP ATP III), was determined, and lifestyle factors associated with predisposition to the metabolic syndrome were analysed.

Results: Among South Korean adults, the age-adjusted prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 14.2% for men and 17.7% for women, whereas the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity (body mass index (BMI) >or=30 kg/m(2)) was 1.7% and 3.0% for men and women, respectively. Age, unemployment, higher BMI, and current smoking were associated factors for the metabolic syndrome regardless of gender. Moderate exercise (2-3 sessions/week) in men and light alcohol drinking (<15 g/day) in women decreased the odds of the metabolic syndrome.

Conclusions: Metabolic syndrome is present in more than 15% of South Koreans despite a low prevalence of obesity. Higher BMI and current smoking were identified as independent modifiable risk factors of the metabolic syndrome. Weight control and smoking cessation may therefore decrease the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in South Korean adults.

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