Metabolic Age, an Index Based on Basal Metabolic Rate, Can Predict Individuals That are High Risk of Developing Metabolic Syndrome

High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev. 2021 May;28(3):263-270. doi: 10.1007/s40292-021-00441-1. Epub 2021 Mar 5.


Introduction: Every 10 years, an adult's basal metabolic rate (BMR), independent of their BMI, decreases 1-2% due to skeletal muscle loss, thus decreasing an adult's energy requirement and promoting obesity. Increased obesity augments the risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome (MetS); however, an adult's healthy lifestyle, which increases BMR, can mitigate MetS development. To compare different BMRs for certain ages, Metabolic age (Met-age) was developed.

Aim: To assess the association between Met-age and MetS and to determine if Met-age is an indicator of high-risk individuals for MetS.

Methods: Four hundred thirty-five attendees at 2 clinics agreed to participate and gave signed informed consent. MetS risk was assessed by the ESF-I questionnaire. Met-age was determined using a TANITA bio-analyzer. Strengthen of association was determined by calculating Spearman's rho and predictability was evaluated by the area-under-a-receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC). Difference-in-age (DIA) = [chronological age - Met-age].

Results: There was a difference between the low-risk (n = 155) and the high-risk (n = 280) groups' Met-age (37.8±16.7 v. 62.9±17.3) and DIA (1.3±17.4 v. - 10.5±20.8, p < 0.001). There was a positive correlation between the ESF-I questionnaire and Met-age (rho = - 0.624, p < 0.001) and a negative correlation for DIA (rho = - 0.358, p < 0.001). Met-age was strongly predictive (AUC = 0.84, 95% CI 0.80-0.88), suggesting a 45.5 years cutoff (sensitivity = 83.2%, specificity = 72.3%). DIA was a good predictor (AUC = 0.68, 95% CI 0.63-0.74) with a - 11.5 years cutoff (sensitivity = 52.5%, specificity = 82.8%).

Conclusion: Met-age highly associated with and is an indicator of high-risk individuals for MetS. This would suggest that increases in Met-age are associated with augmented MetS severity, independent of the individual's chronological age.

Keywords: Developing countries; Disease prevention; Endocrine and metabolic disease; Latinos; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aging
  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors