PURPOSE: Epidemiologic data from various regions have shown familial correlations of cardiovascular risk factors and the metabolic syndrome (MES), but not spousal concordance that reflects shared environmental factors, which we describe in a Korean general population. METHODS: We selected 3141 couples; both partners of all couples had completed a national health examination. MES was determined according to National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel-III (NCEP ATP-III) definitions, except for waist circumference, where Asian cutoffs were used. For each MES component, unadjusted and age-adjusted spousal correlations and spousal concordance, were calculated, using logistic regression analysis after adjustment for spousal ages. RESULTS: There were strong positive spousal correlations for each component of the MES, even after adjustment for age. Significant spousal concordance of MES was also observed. Men whose wives had MES had 1.29 (95%CI, 1.07-1.57) times higher risk of having MES, compared to those whose wives did not. Women whose husbands had MES were also at 1.32 (95% CI, 1.09-1.61) times higher risk of having the MES. CONCLUSIONS: There was significant spousal concordance of the MES in Koreans, which implies shared environmental factors contribute to the development of the MES. Targeting screening or disease prevention measures of partners of people with the MES may be beneficial.
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