Background: The association of metabolic syndrome (MetS) with the development of Parkinson disease (PD) is currently unclear. We sought to determine whether MetS and its components are associated with the risk of incident PD using large-scale cohort data for the whole South Korean population. Methods and findings: Health checkup data of 17,163,560 individuals aged ≥40 years provided by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) of South Korea between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2012, were included, and participants were followed up until December 31, 2015. The mean follow-up duration was 5.3 years. The hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of PD were estimated using a Cox proportional hazards model adjusted for potential confounders. We identified 44,205 incident PD cases during follow-up. Individuals with MetS (n = 5,848,508) showed an increased risk of PD development compared with individuals without MetS (n = 11,315,052), even after adjusting for potential confounders including age, sex, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, income, body mass index, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and history of stroke (model 3; HR, 95% CI: 1.24, 1.21–1.27). Each MetS component was positively associated with PD risk (HR, 95% CI: 1.13, 1.10–1.16 for abdominal obesity; 1.13, 1.10–1.15 for hypertriglyceridemia; 1.23, 1.20–1.25 for low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; 1.05, 1.03–1.08 for high blood pressure; 1.21, 1.18–1.23 for hyperglycemia). PD incidence positively correlated with the number of MetS components (log-rank p < 0.001), and we observed a gradual increase in the HR for incident PD with increasing number of components (p < 0.001). A significant interaction between age and MetS on the risk of incident PD was observed (p for interaction < 0.001), and people aged ≥65 years old with MetS showed the highest HR of incident PD of all subgroups compared to those <65 years old without MetS (reference subgroup). Limitations of this study include the possibilities of misdiagnosis of PD and reverse causality. Conclusions: Our population-based large-scale cohort study suggests that MetS and its components may be risk factors of PD development.
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