Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Okosun PhD.

Second Advisor

Barbara Yankey PhD.


INTRODUCTION: The relationship between alcohol, marijuana and metabolic syndrome remains controversial. Marijuana has been found to be a commonly used drug among those who drink alcohol, yet little is known about the effect of using both substances concurrently with metabolic syndrome. With decriminalization of marijuana across different states in the United States, it is expected that the prevalence of marijuana use will increase. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand the adverse impact of these drugs on metabolic syndrome.

AIM: This study aims to understand (a) the relationship between alcohol and marijuana use and metabolic syndrome (b) the association between concurrent use of alcohol and marijuana and metabolic syndrome, and (c) the statistical interaction of alcohol and marijuana use on metabolic syndrome using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data.

METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis of 2013-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey data was conducted. Participants aged ≥20 years were eligible. Metabolic syndrome was defined by the International Diabetes Federation criteria. The adjusted odds ratio of metabolic syndrome was calculated controlling for variables fitted using stepwise logistic regression model selection.

RESULTS: After adjusting for age, race, educational level, marital status, poverty, and cigarette smoking status; current drinkers showed a significant inverse association with metabolic syndrome (aOR, 0.69 95% CI, 0.49-0.99). The odds of metabolic syndrome in concurrent users (aOR 0.53 95% CI, 0.28-0.99) was less than the odds among non-concurrent users. Compared with young adults, middle-aged and older adults had increased odds of metabolic syndrome.

DISCUSSION: This data indicates that alcohol consumption and co-use of alcohol and marijuana is associated with a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these findings. Notably, age and smoking are significant predictors of metabolic syndrome.