Background: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome has markedly increased worldwide. However, studies in the United States show that it has remained stable or slightly declined in recent years. Whether this applies to other countries is presently unclear.
Objectives: We examined the trends in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components in Korea.
Methods: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components was estimated in adults aged >30 years from the Korean National Health Insurance Service data from 2009 to 2013. The revised National Cholesterol Education Program criteria were used to define metabolic syndrome.
Results: Approximately 10 million individuals were analyzed annually. The age-adjusted prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased from 28.84% to 30.52%, and the increasing trend was more prominent in men. Prevalence of hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL-cholesterol, and impaired fasting plasma glucose significantly increased. However, the prevalence of hypertension decreased in both genders. The prevalence of abdominal obesity decreased in women over 50 years-of-age but significantly increased in young women and men (<50 years).
Conclusions: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome is still increasing in Korea. Trends in each component of metabolic syndrome are disparate according to the gender, or age groups. Notably, abdominal obesity among young adults increased significantly; thus, interventional strategies should be implemented particularly for this age group.