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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2012 Aug;77(2):233-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2011.04248.x.

High serum ferritin levels are associated with metabolic risk factors in non-obese Korean young adults: Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) IV.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.



The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between serum ferritin levels and metabolic risk factors in nonobese Korean young adults.


We analysed the fourth annual Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) in young adults (aged 19-39 years), conducted between 2007 and 2008. A total of 1542 nonobese [body mass index (BMI) <25 kg/m(2) ] young adults (684 men and 858 women) were enrolled. Using blood pressure and levels of serum triglycerides, plasma glucose and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the Asian criteria for abdominal obesity (Waist circumference ≥90 cm in men or ≥80 cm in women) was used to identify individuals with metabolic syndrome.


Data on anthropometry, fasting plasma glucose, insulin, lipid profile and ferritin levels were analysed.


The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 4·1% for men and 2·7% for women. High fasting glucose and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased progressively across three different tertiles of ferritin levels in men. However, high ferritin levels were associated with high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and metabolic syndrome in women. After adjustment for age, smoking, alcohol consumption, BMI and ALT levels, low HDL cholesterol (OR 1·66, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·16-2·36) and the presence of metabolic syndrome (OR 3·87, 95% CI 1·34-11·2) were independently associated with high serum ferritin levels in Korean nonobese young women.


Our results suggest that elevated serum ferritin levels may be employed as a marker of metabolic syndrome in nonobese young adult women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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