The metabolic syndrome is a term used to indicate the presence of a cluster of conditions associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, and early mortality. A fairly common condition in the elderly, it is caused primarily by physical inactivity and excessive calorie intake and characterized by abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, impaired fasting glucose, dyslipidemia, and prehypertension. Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that a lifestyle of moderate-intensity, physical activity for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week, combined with weight loss of 5-7%, can reverse individual components of the metabolic syndrome. When lifestyle modifications are insufficient, a multidrug regimen may be necessary to treat different components of the metabolic syndrome. This paper reviews current literature on the metabolic syndrome, including its causes, incidence and approaches for successful treatment.