Associations of obesity with osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome in Korean postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study using national survey data



In a representative sample of 3058 Korean postmenopausal women, we studied which types of obesity were more or less desirable for developing concomitant osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome (MS), with the goal of helping clinicians identify steps to reduce patients’ risk. Different definitions of obesity showed different relationships with osteoporosis and MS in this population.


To examine sample characteristics, prevalence, and the risk of osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome among four groups of postmenopausal women classified by obesity.


Data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed using the Rao-Scott chi-square test, analysis of variance, and multinomial logistic regression analysis. The four groups included body mass index (BMI)-based obese, waist circumference (WC)-based obese, BMI-, and WC-based obese, and non-obese women, using BMI and WC cutoffs for obesity of ≥ 25 kg/m2 and ≥ 80 cm, respectively.


The prevalence of osteoporosis and MS was 40.8% and 48.5%, respectively. Age, socioeconomic status, smoking status, and hormone therapy use differed among the obese groups. The odds ratios of simultaneously having both osteoporosis and MS in the BMI- and WC-based obese, BMI-based obese, WC-based obese, and non-obese groups were 7.39 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.83–11.31), 0.74 (95% CI = 0.27–1.98), 7.07 (95% CI = 4.72–10.58), and 1, respectively.


The findings demonstrate the most and the least desirable types of obesity in terms of risk for both osteoporosis and MS. Public health practitioners may consider the type of obesity to reduce or prevent both conditions in postmenopausal women.

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The authors thank the participants in the 2014 and 2016 KNHANES and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approval for using the original data was obtained through the KNHANES homepage.

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Correspondence to Yunmi Kim.

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Ethical approval

Approval of this study was obtained from the Institutional Review Board of E University (EUIRB2018–25) before this study commenced. The KCDC has opened the data of the KNHANES to the public. The research team downloaded the relevant non-identified data from the webpage after obtaining approval from the KCDC. This study was conducted in accordance with the statement of ethical principles for human research in the Helsinki Declaration. Written informed consent for the survey was obtained from all study participants by the trained staff of the KNHANES.

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Kim, H., Kim, Y. Associations of obesity with osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome in Korean postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study using national survey data. Arch Osteoporos 14, 64 (2019).

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  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Postmenopausal