Int J Sports Med 2021; 42(03): 199-214
DOI: 10.1055/a-1263-0898

Metabolic Syndrome Pathophysiology and Predisposing Factors

António Bovolini
1   CIAFEL Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto
2   Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real
Maria Amparo Andrade
3   Federal University of Pernambuco, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife
José Alberto Duarte
1   CIAFEL Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto
4   University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS), Rua Central de Gandra, 1317 4585-116 Gandra Paredes, Portugal
› Author Affiliations
Funding: This study was financed by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT/UID/DTP/00617/2019) and National Funds by FCT - Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project UIDB/04033/2020 (CITAB - Center for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences).


Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of cardiometabolic risk factors with high prevalence among adult populations and elevated costs for public health systems worldwide. Despite the lack of consensus regarding the syndrome definition and diagnosis criteria, it is characterized by the coexistence of risk factors such as abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, elevated blood pressure, a prothrombotic and pro-inflammatory state, insulin resistance (IR), and higher glucose levels, factors indubitably linked to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The syndrome has a complex and multifaceted origin not fully understood; however, it has been strongly suggested that sedentarism and unbalanced dietary patterns might play a fundamental role in its development. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview from the syndrome epidemiology, costs, and main etiological traits from its relationship with unhealthy diet patterns and sedentary lifestyles.

Publication History

Received: 22 March 2020

Accepted: 24 August 2020

Article published online:
19 October 2020

© 2020. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
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