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Diabetes Care. 2011 Jun;34(6):1323-8. doi: 10.2337/dc10-2109. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

Increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Korea: the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 1998-2007.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



The number of people with metabolic syndrome is increasing worldwide, and changes in socioenvironmental factors contribute to this increase. Therefore, investigation of changes in metabolic syndrome and its components in South Korea, where rapid socioenvironmental changes have occurred in recent years, would be foundational in setting up an effective strategy for reducing this increasing trend.


We compared the prevalence and pattern of metabolic syndrome among participants in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys for 1998, 2001, 2005, and 2007. In each survey, stratified, multistage, probability-sampling designs and weighting adjustments were conducted to represent the entire Korean population. The revised National Cholesterol Education Program criteria were used as the definition of metabolic syndrome. All biochemical parameters were measured in a central laboratory.


A total of 6,907 (mean ± SE age 45.0 ± 0.2 years), 4,536 (45.5 ± 0.2), 5,373 (47.1 ± 0.2), and 2,890 (49.9 ± 0.3) Koreans over 20 years of age have participated in the studies in 1998, 2001, 2005, and 2007, respectively. The age-adjusted prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased significantly from 24.9% in 1998, 29.2% in 2001, and 30.4% in 2005 to 31.3% in 2007. Among the five components, the level of low HDL cholesterol increased the most, by 13.8% over the 10 years. Abdominal obesity and hypertriglyceridemia followed, with 8.7 and 4.9% increases, respectively.


Because dyslipidemia and abdominal obesity were major factors in increasing the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Koreans for the past 10 years, lifestyle interventions should be conducted at the national level to reduce the burden and consequences of metabolic syndrome.

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