The traditional Korean dietary pattern is associated with decreased risk of metabolic syndrome: findings from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1998-2009

J Med Food. 2014 Jan;17(1):43-56. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2013.3049.


The traditional Korean diet has several healthy components, including abundant vegetables, fermented foods, a variety of foodstuffs, and a balance of animal and vegetable food intake. Although the traditional Korean diet has many healthy components, few studies have been conducted on the health advantages of the Korean dietary pattern. This study is intended to clarify the relationship between Korean dietary patterns and chronic diseases using the Integrated Korean Dietary Pattern Score (I-KDPS). I-KDPS is an index for measuring Korean dietary patterns based on traditional Korean meals and reflects the complex and multifaceted characteristics of Korean food culture. I-KDPS is composed of seven items to measure the level of balance and adequacy of Korean food consumption, with a maximum score of 60. When I-KDPS was applied to the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1998-2009), a nationwide survey, I-KDPS was closely related to the risk of metabolic syndrome. Even though there were a few differences among the years surveyed, the risk of metabolic syndrome, obesity, hypertension, and hypertriglyceridemia significantly decreased as I-KDPS increased. These results indicate that risk of diseases, including metabolic syndrome, decreases in individuals adhering to traditional Korean dietary patterns in adequate levels and those who eat a balanced diet. The result of this study shows that the traditional Korean table setting, which comprises side dishes, including seasoned vegetables, grilled dishes, and fermented products with cooked rice (bap), soup (guk), and kimchi, contains traits that help prevent metabolic syndrome. I-KDPS coupled with the basic study of the healthfulness of the Korean dietary lifestyle is expected to help establish a foundation for continuous development of health promoting Korean foods and dietary culture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diet
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult