, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 614–621 | Cite as

Metabolic syndrome and its components among Korean submariners: a retrospective cross-sectional study

  • Jihun Kang
  • Yun-Mi SongEmail author
Original Article



Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of inter-related risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Although submariners tend to be exposed to unhealthy environmental factors, such as a confined work environment, physical inactivity, and circadian disruption, little is known regarding whether the risks of MetS and its components are associated with submarine service. The present study aimed to evaluate the risks of MetS and its components among submariners.


A total of 5090 subjects (513 submariners and 4577 non-submariners) were included in the present study. We calculated the age-standardized and age-specific prevalences of MetS. The associations between submarine service and the risks of MetS and its components were evaluated using logistic regression analysis after adjusting for age, service rank, and lifestyle factors.


The age-standardized prevalences of MetS were 17.6 and 15.1% among submariners and non-submariners, respectively. Compared to non-submariners, submariners had higher risks of MetS (odds ratio [OR] 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02, 1.68), low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.36, 2.20), and impaired fasting glucose (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.21, 1.76). When we stratified the subjects according to physical activity, an increased risk of elevated blood pressure associated with submarine service was evident only in the subgroup with moderate or vigorous physical activity (P for interaction = 0.006).


Submariners had higher risks of MetS and some MetS components, compared to non-submariners. These findings suggest that special efforts are needed to prevent and manage MetS among individuals who are expected to be exposed to submarine environment.


Metabolic syndrome Submarine Risk factors Occupational exposure 


Author contributions

Dr. Jihun Kang conceived of and designed the study; collected, analyzed, and interpreted the data; and wrote and revised the report. Prof. Yun-Mi Song conceived of and designed the study; collected, analyzed, and interpreted the data; and provided important intellectual context and critical revisions for the report. Both authors have approved the final version for publication, and accept responsibility for the accuracy and integrity of the data and the analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

This study’s retrospective protocol was approved by the institutional review board of the Armed Forces Medical command (Seongnam, South Korea; AFMC-17003-IRB-17-002), which waived the requirement for informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineKosin University Gospel Hospital, Kosin University College of MedicineBusanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea

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