Volume 30 (2011) Issue 1 Pages 15-22
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the factors which may be associated with the metabolic syndrome by exploring the relationship between psychosocial stress, age, body mass index (BMI), C-reactive protein (CRP), lifestyle factors, and the components of the metabolic syndrome, such as glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting blood sugar (FBS), body fat percentage, and triglyceride concentration, among apparently healthy subjects. Psychosocial stress was measured by the use of the inventory to measure psychosocial stress (IMPS). One thousand four hundred and ninety-nine people out of 1,941 public school workers admitted to a hospital for a medical check-up responded to the IMPS, yielding a response rate of 77.2%. A total of 1,201 workers excluding 298 who were taking medication for various diseases were analyzed with the use of hierarchical multiple regression models. It was found that IMPS-measured stress score, age, BMI, and smoking habit were associated with an increase in glycated hemoglobin among men, while alcohol consumption was associated with a decrease in glycated hemoglobin. Stress score, age, BMI, and alcohol consumption were found to be associated with an increase in FBS among men, while smoking and exercise habits were associated with a decrease in FBS. CRP was found to be associated with an increase in body fat percentage among men, though stress score was not associated with an increase in body fat percentage. Stress score, age, and BMI were associated with an increase in triglyceride concentration among women. The findings of the present study seem to be in line with the hypothesis that psychosocial stress plays an important role in developing the metabolic syndrome, which may be associated with inflammatory processes in the vascular wall, resulting in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.