The major characteristics of metabolic syndrome include insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, and lipid abnormalities (i.e., elevated levels of triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol). Initially defined by an expert panel of the World Health Organization in 1998,5 the NCEP-ATP III4 has created an operational definition of metabolic syndrome: the co-occurrence of any three of the abnormalities mentioned above.
Basically, it is the "pre-diabetic" state many individuals experience before they develop full-blown diabetes. Obesity is usually a big component of metabolic syndrome, leading to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and other signs that your body can't handle the sugars and fat being taken in. Metabolic syndrome is often reversible through routine diet and exercise. Over 6 million Americans suffer from type II diabetes today, and an equal number are pre-diabetic, or afflicted with metabolic syndrome.