Metabolic syndrome is a term used to describe a particular cluster of health problems that were first identified in 1988 by Gerald Reaven, an endocrinologist at Stanford University.1 He originally called it syndrome X, and at various times the syndrome has also been referred to as dysmetabolic syndrome, insulin resistance syndrome, and obesity dyslipidemia syndrome. The term metabolic syndrome is now widely accepted, whereas syndrome X fell into disfavor due to confusion with a similarly named cardiac syndrome. In essence, metabolic syndrome is characterized by abdominal obesity and insulin resistance (reduced responsiveness of the body tissues to insulin). Metabolic syndrome is often accompanied by hypertension and two lipid disorders: high blood levels of triglycerides and low blood levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Compared to someone without the syndrome, a person with metabolic syndrome has a fivefold greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and is three times as likely to have – and twice as likely to die from – a heart attack or stroke.