Open Access Open Badges Research article

Alcohol use behaviors and risk of metabolic syndrome in South Korean middle-aged men

Jinhee Kim1, Su-Kyung Chu2*, Kyungjoo Kim3 and Ju-Ryoung Moon4

Author Affiliations

1 National Evidence-based Healthcare Collaborating Agency, Seoul, South Korea

2 Department of Nursing, Eulji University, Seoul, South Korea

3 National Strategic Coordinating Center for Clinical Research, Seoul, South Korea

4 Cardiac & Vascular Center, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:489  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-489

Published: 22 June 2011



It is thought that small volumes of alcohol may have positive effects on health. However, excessive drinking results in serious health problems. An accurate method to determine individual alcohol use behaviors are needed to assess objectively the extent to which drinking affects health. This study investigated the association between risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and alcohol use behaviors in middle-aged South Korean men using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test.


This study used data from the South Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination (KNHANES) IV (2008), which extracted the standard survey household by using the proportional systematic sampling method. Data of 714 participants from KNHANES IV, 2008 were analyzed using Surveyfreq and Surveylogistic regression to investigate the association between MetS and alcohol use behaviors in middle-aged South Korean men.


After adjustment for education, smoking, and physical activity, alcohol use behaviors were significantly associated with an increased risk of hypertension [odds ratio (OR) = 2.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.5-4.06 in the hazardous group; OR = 2.99, 95% CI = 1.84-4.92 in the problem group]; impaired fasting glucose (OR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.16-3.99 in the hazardous group; OR = 2.48, 95% CI = 1.42-4.33 in the problem group); dyslipidemia (OR = 2.19, 95% CI = 1.38-3.47 in the problem group); abdominal obesity (OR = 1.93, 95% CI = 1.17-3.19 in the hazardous group; OR = 1.85, 95% CI = 1.17-2.92 in the problem group); and MetS (OR = 2.16, 95% CI = 1.24-3.77 in the hazardous group; OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.41-4.58 in problem group).


This study found that excessive alcohol use behaviors increased the risk of hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, abdominal obesity, and MetS. Considering the rising rate of alcohol consumption and heavy drinking at single sittings, a culture of less risky alcohol consumption must be established to promote health among middle-aged men.