The "metabolic syndrome" (MetS) is a clustering of components that reflect overnutrition, sedentary lifestyles, and resultant excess adiposity. The MetS includes the clustering of abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and elevated blood pressure and is associated with other comorbidities including the prothrombotic state, proinflammatory state, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and reproductive disorders. Because the MetS is a cluster of different conditions, and not a single disease, the development of multiple concurrent definitions has resulted. The prevalence of the MetS is increasing to epidemic proportions not only in the United States and the remainder of the urbanized world but also in developing nations. Most studies show that the MetS is associated with an approximate doubling of cardiovascular disease risk and a 5-fold increased risk for incident type 2 diabetes mellitus. Although it is unclear whether there is a unifying pathophysiological mechanism resulting in the MetS, abdominal adiposity and insulin resistance appear to be central to the MetS and its individual components. Lifestyle modification and weight loss should, therefore, be at the core of treating or preventing the MetS and its components. In addition, there is a general consensus that other cardiac risk factors should be aggressively managed in individuals with the MetS. Finally, in 2008 the MetS is an evolving concept that continues to be data driven and evidence based with revisions forthcoming.