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Blake Medical Center

Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome

People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of:

Metabolic syndrome is believed to be due to a combination of:

  • Genetic factors, which you inherit from your family
  • Environmental factors such as diet and physical activity level

The more risk factors you have for metabolic syndrome, the greater your likelihood of developing it. The risk of having metabolic syndrome also increases with age. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Examples of these risk factors include:

  • Ethnicity—Mexican American women, Caucasians, and African Americans have a higher risk.
  • Obesity—You are more likely to develop many of the underlying conditions of metabolic syndrome if you are overweight, especially if that extra weight is around your waist or if your obesity began at a young age.
  • Having disorders or conditions associated with metabolic disorder such as:
  • Genes—Having a family history of the disorders listed above
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet—Eating a diet high in calories, sugar, saturated fats, and starchy foods and eating a diet low in dietary fiber increases your risk
  • Unhealthy habits, such as smoking
  • Certain medication, such as atypical antipsychotics

Revision Information

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  • Deen D. Metabolic Syndrome: time for action. Am Fam Physician. 2004;69:2875-2882.

  • Ford ES, Giles WH, et al. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among US adults: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. JAMA. 2002;287:356-359.

  • Gami AS, Witt BJ, et al. Metabolic syndrome and risk of incident cardiovascular events and death: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007;49:403-414.

  • Grundy SM. Metabolic syndrome: a multiplex cardiovascular risk factor. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92:399-404.

  • Grundy SM, Cleeman JI, et al. Diagnosis and management of the metabolic syndrome. Circulation. 2005;112:e285-e290.

  • Metabolic syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 29, 2013. Accessed May 10, 2013.

  • Weiss R. Dziura J, et al. Obesity and the metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents. N Engl J Med. 2004;350:2362-2374.

  • Who is at risk for metabolic syndrome? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Updated November 3, 2011. Accessed May 10, 2013.

  • 1/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Koyama S, Ichikawa G, et al. Adiposity rebound and the development of metabolic syndrome. Pediatrics. 2013 Dec 23.

  • 1/22/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Xu Y, Shen S, et al. Metabolic syndrome risk after gestational diabetes: Asystematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014;9(1):e87863.