PURPOSE The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of life style characteristics on the prevalence risk of metabolic syndrome (MS). METHODS A total of 581 adults were recruited from a cardiovascular outpatient clinic. A newly developed comprehensive life style evaluation tool for MS patients was used, and patient data related to the MS diagnosis were reviewed from the hospital records. RESULTS The overall prevalence of MS was 53.2%, and the mean of MS score was 2.6 for patients at a cardiovascular outpatient clinic (78% of the patients had hypertension). Dietary habits among the life style characteristics had significant influence on the prevalence risk of MS and MS scores. And also interestingly, the classification and regression tree (CART) model suggested that the high prevalence risk groups for MS were older adults (61.5< or =age<79.4), and adults between 48.5 and 61.5 yr of age with bad dietary habits. CONCLUSION This study indicates that nurses should focus on dietary habits of patients (especially patients classified as high prevalence risk for MS) for improvement and prevention of MS prevalence risk.