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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Association between metabolic syndrome and bone fractures: a meta-analysis of observational studies

Kan Sun12, Jianmin Liu12, Nan Lu12, Hanxiao Sun12 and Guang Ning12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Rui-Jin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai Institute of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, Shanghai Clinical Center for Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, Shanghai 200025, China

2 Key Laboratory for Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases of Ministry of Health, Rui-Jin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, E-Institute of Shanghai Universities, Shanghai 200025, China

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BMC Endocrine Disorders 2014, 14:13  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-13

Published: 9 February 2014



Emerging epidemiological evidence suggest an association between metabolic syndrome and fractures. However, whether metabolic syndrome is an independent risk or protective factor of fractures remains controversial. Our goal is to provide a quantitative assessment of the association between metabolic syndrome and bone fractures by conducting a meta-analysis of observational studies.


The PubMed and Embase database were searched through to March 2013 to identify studies that met pre-established inclusion criteria. Reference lists of retrieved articles were also reviewed. Summary effect estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were derived using a fixed or random effects model, depending on the heterogeneity of the included studies.


Eight epidemiologic studies involving 39,938 participants were included in the meta-analysis. In overall analysis, metabolic syndrome was not associated with prevalent fractures [pooled odds ratio (OR) 0.93, 95% CI 0.84 - 1.03] in cross-sectional studies or incident fractures [pooled relative risk (RR) 0.88, 95% CI 0.37 - 2.12] in prospective cohort studies. No evidence of heterogeneity was found in cross-sectional studies (p = 0.786, I2 = 0.0%). A substantial heterogeneity was detected in cohort studies (p = 0.001, I2 = 85.7%). No indication of significant publication bias was found either from Begg’s test or Egger’s test. Estimates of total effects were substantially consistent in the sensitivity and stratification analyses.


The present meta-analysis of observational studies suggests that the metabolic syndrome has no explicit effect on bone fractures.

Metabolic syndrome; Fractures; Cohort study; Cross-sectional study; Meta-analysis