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Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2017 Apr;15(3):118-123. doi: 10.1089/met.2016.0120. Epub 2017 Feb 16.

Alterations in Multiple Lifestyle Factors in Subjects with the Metabolic Syndrome Independently of Obesity.

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1 Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital , Uppsala, Sweden .
2 Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Malmö University Hospital , Malmö, Sweden .
3 Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine , Stanford, California.
4 Molecular Epidemiology and Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University , Uppsala, Sweden .
5 Uppsala Clinical Research Center (UCR) , Uppsala, Sweden .
6 School of Health and Social Studies, Dalarna University , Falun, Sweden .



Many lifestyle factors have been associated with the metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, most of these studies have not considered the potential impact of obesity and have often only investigated one lifestyle factor at the time. We aimed to investigate the interplay between body mass index (BMI) and MetS with respect to multiple lifestyle factors.


BMI and MetS [National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)/Adult Treatment Panel III criteria] were assessed in a sample of 18,880 subjects aged 45-75 years from the population-based EpiHealth study. Participants were categorized into six groups according to BMI category (normal weight/BMI <25 kg/m2, overweight/BMI 25-30 kg/m2, and obesity/BMI >30 kg/m2) and MetS status (+/-, NCEP criteria). A wide range of lifestyle factors related to physical activity, smoking, alcohol, sleep quality, working conditions, quality of life and stress, and eating patterns were assessed using a questionnaire.


Prevalent MetS (23% in the sample) was associated with less physical activity (P < 0.0001), more TV watching (P < 0.0001), more years of smoking (P < 0.0001), lower education level (P = 0.007), and experiencing a poor general quality of life (P < 0.0001). These lifestyle factors were all associated with MetS, independently of each other and independently of BMI. Similar results were generated when number of MetS components and presence/absence of individual MetS components were used as outcomes.


This cross-sectional study identified alterations in a number of lifestyle factors associated with MetS independently of each other and independently of BMI. Future longitudinal studies are needed to assess causal and temporal relationships between lifestyle factors and MetS development.


MHO; lifestyle factors; metabolic syndrome; obesity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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