The researchers found that adults who reported little or no daily exercise were twice as likely to develop the condition.
While those who failed to consume calcium-rich foods regularly were 1.5 times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, than those who ate calcium-rich diets.
The researchers surveyed nearly 5,077 Illinois adults asking about their chronic health conditions, exercise habits and their intake of fruit, vegetables and other sources of calcium.
"We found that metabolic syndrome was more prevalent in the older, less affluent population, in people with less education and in those who engaged in less physical activity, consumed calcium-rich foods less frequently and had hypertension and hypercholesterolemia," said Adam Reppert, lead study author.
"As with many health conditions, when the good behaviours are absent, the condition is more prevalent," he added.
The study appears in the American Journal of Health Promotion.