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Gender- and Age-Specific Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Among Korean Adults

Analysis of the Fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Park, Eunok PhD, RN; Kim, JinShil PhD, RN

Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: May/June 2015 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 256–266
doi: 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000142

Background: Despite the growing prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in Korea, information is lacking on gender- and age-specific patterns in prevalence of MetS among Korean adults.

Aims: The aims of this study were to examine (1) gender-specific prevalence of MetS by its component abnormalities, (2) the prevalence of MetS and its component abnormalities by gender and 10-year age groups, and (3) gender-specific lifestyle risk factors for MetS presentation among Korean adults.

Methods: A secondary data analysis was performed using the most recent national survey. A sample group of 5760 adults (mean age, 44.6 ± 0.46 years; 43.5% men) completed household interviews to provide blood (for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose) and anthropometric measurements (ie, waist circumference, weight, and height) to define MetS, as well as data on lifestyle risk factors.

Results: Approximately 1 in 4 Korean adults met the MetS diagnostic criteria. Given each component abnormality, MetS was the most prevalent in men with low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (63.4%), followed by abdominal obesity (62.3%). In women, it was most prevalent in those with hypertriglyceridemia (73.2%), followed by hyperglycemia (69.7%). Metabolic syndrome showed an association with advanced age for both men and women (P < .001 for both), with greater prevalence of MetS in young and middle-aged men than in women (6.7%–39.9% vs 3.3%–36.4%); these patterns were reversed in people 60 years or older (34.0%–40.5% vs 55.2%–64.1%). Gender-specific lifestyle risk factors for MetS presentation showed a significant association with heavy alcohol drinking and obesity for both men (odds ratio, 1.65 and 5.26, respectively; P < .001 for both) and women (odds ratio, 1.96 and 5.94; P < .042 and < .001, respectively).

Conclusions: Metabolic syndrome is prevalent in a representative sample of Korean adults, with gender- and age-specific patterns. These results are helpful in identification of vulnerable subgroups at high risk for MetS, providing a basis for promotion of cardiovascular health and risk management of MetS.

Eunok Park, PhD, RN Professor, College of Nursing, Jeju National University, South Korea.

JinShil Kim, PhD, RN Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Gachon University, Incheon, South Korea.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence JinShil Kim, PhD, RN, Gachon University, College of Nursing, 191 Hambakmoero, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, South Korea (

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