Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a widespread condition with important effects on public health, in general. There is a lack of relevant research on possible sex differences in the relationship between MetS and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and also the sex differences in factors associated with HRQoL. The aims of this study were to identify: 1) whether women exhibit greater negative impacts on physical domain HRQoL from MetS compared with men; 2) whether women exhibit greater mental domain impacts compared with men; and 3) whether factors associated with HRQoL scores are different for men and women.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in Taipei, Taiwan. Using random sampling, a total of 906 participants aged 35–55 years were recruited. MetS was defined according to the MetS criteria for the Taiwanese population, and HRQoL were assessed using physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) scores of the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), Taiwan version. Demographics, physical activity, medical history, and blood tests as covariates were recorded and checked. The associations were assessed by multiple linear regression.
After adjusting for covariates, women but not men with more components of MetS had significantly lower PCS scores (β = − 0.542, p = 0.036). The number of components of MetS was not a significant factor in MCS score differences between the sexes. Furthermore, there were sex differences regarding age, education level, physical activity, and smoking status in association with PCS scores. For MCS scores, sex differences were found in education level, marital status, and habits of smoking and alcohol consumption.
There were sex differences in the relationships between metabolic syndrome components and factors associated with HRQoL among middle-aged adults living in the community in Taiwan. Further research should be conducted to investigate mechanisms of these sex differences.