1. Anderson, John J.B. PhD
  2. Prytherch, Susan A. MPH, RD, LDN
  3. Sparling, Marilyn MPH, RD, LDN, CDE
  4. Barrett, Carolyn MS, MPH, RD, LDN
  5. Guyton, John R. MD


Metabolic syndrome is a recently defined medical disorder and now considered to be an epidemic. It includes several diseases stemming typically from overweight or obesity. Clinical characteristics include abnormal blood lipids, insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure (hypertension), and low serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Individuals with this syndrome are typically not treated for any of their abnormalities until they are seriously affected by one of the diseases. Metabolic syndrome is more common in men and is becoming recognized even among children and adolescents. Metabolic syndrome arises because of altered metabolic pathways, including insulin resistance, and excessive consumption of food energy not balanced by energy expenditure in physical activities. The underlying pathophysiology is an abnormality in the metabolism of triglycerides involving fat cells, muscle cells, and other extrahepatic cells. The major diseases that result from these abnormalities are obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2, and cardiovascular diseases (coronary heart disease and stroke). Prevention is best, but when the syndrome exists, treatment focuses on weight loss to achieve a healthy body weight