Document Type


Journal Title

Journal of Obesity

Publication Date





BACKGROUND: This study investigated the associations of fitness and fatness with metabolic syndrome in rural women, part of a recognized US health disparities group.

METHODS: Fitness, percentage body fat, BMI, and metabolic syndrome criteria were assessed at baseline in 289 rural women with prehypertension, ages 40-69, enrolled in a healthy eating and activity community-based clinical trial for reducing blood pressure.

RESULTS: Ninety (31%) women had metabolic syndrome, of which 70% were obese by BMI (≥30 kg/m²), 100% by percentage body fat (≥30%), and 100% by revised BMI standards (≥25 kg/m²) cited in current literature. Hierarchical logistic regression models, adjusted for age, income, and education, revealed that higher percentage body fat (P < 0.001) was associated with greater prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Alone, higher fitness lowered the odds of metabolic syndrome by 7% (P < 0.001), but it did not lower the odds significantly beyond the effects of body fat. When dichotomized into "fit" and "unfit" groups, women categorized as "fat" had lower odds of metabolic syndrome if they were "fit" by 75% and 59%, for percentage body fat and revised BMI, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Among rural women with prehypertension, obesity and fitness were associated with metabolic syndrome. Obesity defined as ≥25 kg/m² produced results more consistent with percentage body fat as compared to the ≥30 kg/m² definition.

MeSH Headings

Adult, Aged, Body Mass Index, Female, Humans, Logistic Models, Metabolic Syndrome X, Middle Aged, Obesity, Physical Fitness, Prehypertension, Prevalence



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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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