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Prevalence rate of Metabolic Syndrome in a group of light and heavy smokers

Hellas Cena1*, Antonella Tesone1, Rosanna Niniano2, Isa Cerveri2, Carla Roggi1 and Giovanna Turconi1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, Section of Human Nutrition, University of Pavia, Via Bassi 21, 27100, Pavia, Italy

2 Respiratory Pathophysiology Unit, Policlinico San Matteo IRCCS, Viale Golgi, 19, 27100, Pavia, Italy

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Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome 2013, 5:28  doi:10.1186/1758-5996-5-28

Published: 30 May 2013



Smoking is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is widely accepted as a major risk factor for metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Smoking reduces insulin sensitivity or induces insulin resistance and enhances cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated plasma triglycerides, decreases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and causes hyperglycemia. Several studies show that smoking is associated with metabolic abnormalities and increases the risk of Metabolic Syndrome. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in a group of light and heavy smokers, wishing to give up smoking.


In this cross-sectional study all the enrolled subjects voluntary joined the smoking cessation program held by the Respiratory Pathophysiology Unit of San Matteo Hospital, Pavia, Northern Italy.

All the subjects enrolled were former smokers from at least 10 years and had no cancer or psychiatric disorders, nor history of diabetes or CVD or coronary artery disease and were not on any medication.


The subjects smoke 32.3 ± 16.5 mean Pack Years. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is 52.1%: 57.3% and 44.9% for males and females respectively. Analysing the smoking habit influence on the IDF criteria for the metabolic syndrome diagnosis we found that all the variables show an increasing trend from light to heavy smokers, except for HDL cholesterol. A statistical significant correlation among Pack Years and waist circumference (R = 0.48, p < 0.0001), Systolic Blood Pressure (R = 0.18, p < 0.05), fasting plasma glucose (R = 0.19, p < 0.005) and HDL cholesterol (R = −0.26, p = 0.0005) has been observed.


Currently smoking subjects are at high risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.

Therapeutic lifestyle changes, including smoking cessation are a desirable Public health goal and should successfully be implemented in clinical practice at any age.

Metabolic syndrome; Smoking habit; Insulin resistance; Overweight; Waist circumference