Background: Dietary factors contribute to the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a disorder associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and some cancers.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between the intake frequencies of certain food groups, eating habits, and the risk of metabolic syndrome in a cross-sectional study of Korean men.
Methods: Study participants were recruited from the National Cancer Center in South Korea. A total of 7,081 men aged 30 years and older were recruited between August 2002 and May 2007. Metabolic syndrome was defined as having three or more of the following conditions: obesity, high blood pressure, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, high triglyceride level, and high fasting blood glucose level. The association of metabolic syndrome and sociodemographic characteristics, food intake frequencies, and eating habits assessed by a food frequency questionnaire, was examined.
Results: The prevalence rate of metabolic syndrome for men aged 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, and 60+ years was 18.2%, 19.8%, 21.9%, and 20.5%, respectively. The study participants with metabolic syndrome had significantly higher family history of type 2 diabetes mellitus (27.6% vs 21.6%, P<0.001), and were more likely to be current smokers (50.1% vs 45.3%, P=0.005) than their counterparts. Among food group items, participants with metabolic syndrome showed significantly higher intake of seaweed (odds ratio [OR] 1.25, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05 to 1.50), and oily foods (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.57) than participants without metabolic syndrome. In addition, the group with metabolic syndrome was more likely to eat quickly (OR 2.23, 95% CI 1.60 to 3.12 for fast vs slow) and to overeat frequently (OR 2.37, 95% CI 1.85 to 3.05 for more than 4 times a week vs less than once a week).
Conclusions: The results suggest that high intake of seaweed and oily foods as well as eating habits such as eating faster and frequent overeating, are associated with the risk of metabolic syndrome. In contrast, high fruit intake may be associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. The importance of dietary habits in metabolic syndrome development needs to be pursued in further studies.