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Association between Serum Vitamin D Status and Metabolic Syndrome in Korean Young Men


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 3 - p 513–519
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a6834a

Purpose This study examined the relations of serum vitamin D levels to body fatness, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and metabolic risk factors in young adults in Korea.

Methods Between 2007 and 2009, 799 young men completed a health examination. Body fatness, CRF based on a maximal treadmill exercise test, and measurements of metabolic risk factors were measured in study participants. Participants were classified by serum vitamin D levels as deficient (<12.5 ng·mL−1), insufficient (≥12.5 to <20 ng·mL−1), and sufficient (>20 ng·mL−1) and by CRF as unfit (lowest 20%) and fit (remaining 80%) based on age-standardized distribution of V˙O2max values in this study population. Body fatness, CRF, and metabolic risk factors were evaluated according to serum vitamin D classification. A clustered metabolic risk score was computed by summing standardized scores for waist circumference, resting blood pressures, triacylglycerols, the inverse of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, and insulin.

Results Linear decreases in body fatness and metabolic risk factors were observed, as was a linear increase for CRF across incremental vitamin D categories. A linear decrease was found in the clustered metabolic risk score across incremental vitamin D categories. Compared to the fit group (reference), the unfit group had significantly higher risks for serum vitamin D inadequacy before and after adjusting for age, smoking, and body fatness parameters.

Conclusions The findings of the study suggest that increasing vitamin D intake, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough outdoor physical activity should be promoted as nonpharmacologic means to improve CRF and prevent a clustering of metabolic risk factors in young adults.

1College of Sport Science, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, REPUBLIC OF KOREA; and 2Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, REPUBLIC OF KOREA

Address for correspondence: Hyun-Sik Kang, Ph.D., College of Sport Science, Sungkyunkwan University, 300 Chenchen-Dong, Jangan-Gu, Suwon, Republic of Korea, 440-746; E-mail:

Submitted for publication May 2013.

Accepted for publication July 2013.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine