Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome



Korean J Obes 2006; 15(1): 10-17

Published online January 1, 2006

Copyright © Korean Society for the Study of Obesity.

The Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Metabolic Syndrome among Korean Adults

Min Jung Park, Kyung Eun Yun, Go Eun Lee, Hong Jun Cho, Hye Soon Park

Department of Family Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan University


Background: Socioeconomic status is an important factor in disease morbidity and mortality. The relationship between metabolic syndrome and socioeconomic status has been conducted in foreign studies, however, few studies have examined their association among Koreans.
Methods: A total of 6,420 subjects, aged 20~79 years, were analyzed using the data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1998. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was assessed as defined by the NCEP ATP Ⅲ, while abdominal obesity was assessed according to the Asia - Pacific guidelines.
Results: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 22.6% for men and 26.7% for women. For education level > 12 years, 10~12 years, 7~9 years, ≤ 6 years, the adjusted odds ratios for the metabolic syndrome in women were 1.12 (95% CI 0.92~1.37), 1.29 (1.01~1.65), and 1.89 (1.47~2.43), respectively (P < 0.001). For income of > 1.5 million won/month, 1~1.5 million won/month, 0.5~1 million won/month, ≤ 0.5 million won/month, the adjusted odds ratios for the metabolic syndrome in women were 1.14 (0.95~1.36), 1.35 (1.15~1.58), and 1.50 (1.25~1.80), respectively (P < 0.001). However, no significant difference in odds ratio for metabolic syndrome was noted in men in terms of education level or income.
Conclusions: Lower socioeconomic status was associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome in Korean women, but this association was not observed among Korean men. These results are considered to be a manifestation of a rapidly prospering Korea, a country in its transitional phase. A multidimensional effort, involving the individual, society, and nation is essential in organizing a health program to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Keywords: Education, Income, Metabolic syndrome, Socioeconomic status (SES)