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J Obes Metab Syndr. 2018 Jun;27(2):117-124. English. Original Article.
Lee SH , Lee Y , Seo JH , Kim YA .
Department of Internal Medicine, Veterans Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Research Institute, Veterans Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.


The favorable role of exercise on metabolic syndrome is well established; however, there is a lack of consistent epidemiological data. Thus, we analyzed the association between exercise intensity and metabolic syndrome using data from the Fourth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007–2009).


A total of 10,533 Korean individuals were screened. Exercise amount and intensity were assessed from questionnaire responses. Subjects were divided into three groups according to exercise intensity: no activity (n=607), walking only without intense exercise (n=2,336), and moderate to vigorous activity with or without walking (n=3,855). Logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the associations between exercise intensity and metabolic syndrome.


The overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 22.3% (total n=6,798). The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 20.4% for the intense exercise group, 24.0% for the walking only group, and 29.9% for the no activity group (P<0.001). The intense exercise group had a significantly lower odds ratio for the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components, especially abdominal obesity and hypertriglyceridemia, but not for blood pressure. Interestingly, there were no negative associations identified within the walking only group, other than prevalence of metabolic syndrome itself. The risk of hyperglycemia was slightly lower in the walking group compared to the no activity group but disappeared after multiple adjustments.


A strong inverse relationship between metabolic syndrome and moderate to vigorous intensity exercise was identified, which may reflect a protective effect of intense exercise, but not walking, on metabolic syndrome. Further prospective studies are needed to consolidate our findings.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.