A single factor underlies the metabolic syndrome: A confirmatory factor analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test the hypothesis that the components of the metabolic syndrome are manifestations of a single common factor. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:Three different datasets were used to test and validate the model. The Spanish and Mauritian studies included 207 men and 203 women and 1,411 men and 1,650 women, respectively. A third analytical dataset including 847 men was obtained from a previously published CFA of a U.S. population. The one-factor model included the metabolic syndrome core components (central obesity, insulin resistance, blood pressure, and lipid measurements). We also tested an expanded one-factor model that included uric acid and leptin levels. Finally, we used CFA to compare the goodness of fit of one-factor models with the fit of two previously published four-factor models. RESULTS:The simplest one-factor model showed the best goodness-of-fit indexes (comparative fit index 1, root mean-square error of approximation 0.00). Comparisons of one-factor with four-factor models in the three datasets favored the one-factor model structure. The selection of variables to represent the different metabolic syndrome components and model specification explained why previous exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, respectively, failed to identify a single factor for the metabolic syndrome. CONCLUSIONS:These analyses support the current clinical definition of the metabolic syndrome, as well as the existence of a single factor that links all of the core components.


  • Pladevall, M
  • Singal, B
  • Williams, LK
  • Brotons, C
  • Guyer, H
  • Sadurni, J
  • Falces, C
  • Serrano-Rios, M
  • Gabriel, R
  • Shaw, JE
  • Zimmet, PZ
  • Haffner, S

publication date

  • January 1, 2006