The combination of health risks known as metabolic syndrome affects slightly less than a quarter of the U.S. workforce and is linked to increased absenteeism and poorer health status, reports a study in the October Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
Analyzing health risk appraisal data on 5,512 employees of a large financial services corporation, the researchers found that 22.6 percent of the workers had metabolic syndrome. The lead author was Dr. Wayne N. Burton of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Metabolic syndrome is defined as having at least three of five disease risk factors: large waist circumference (more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women), high triglyceride levels, reduced levels of high-density cholesterol (HDL, or "good" cholesterol), high blood pressure, and high glucose levels. People with metabolic syndrome are at high risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.