PURPOSE: This study was conducted to examine effects of sarcopenic obesity on metabolic syndrome in Korean elders. METHODS: This study is based on the analysis of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) with 1,155 subjects (524 men, and 631 women) aged 60 or older, from 2008 to 2011. Sarcopenia was defined as an appendicular skeletal muscle (ASM), divided by weight (%) of <1 SD (standard deviation) below the sex-specific mean for young adults. Obesity was defined as a total body fat percent (men≥25%, women≥35%). RESULTS: The prevalence of SO (sarcopenic obesity) was 13.3% among men and 22.5% among women. Both sexes showed a higher total body fat percent, and the SMI (skeletal muscle index) was the lowest in the SO group. Metabolic syndrome was highly prevalent in the SO group (52.5% men, 60.4% women). The SO group showed a higher risk for metabolic syndrome (odds ratio men 6.57 [95% CI 5.19~7.27], women 3.89 [95% CI 2.41~6.29]) than the obese group (men 3.14 [95% CI 1.76~4.14], women 2.54 [95% CI 1.38~4.65]). CONCLUSION: SO is a major risk factor for metabolic syndrome in Korean elders. Therefore, a nursing program should be given to the Korean elderly SO group to prevent metabolic syndrome.