Background. The emerging epidemic of overweight/obesity in adolescents in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam underlines the importance of studying the metabolic syndrome in Vietnamese adolescents who are becoming progressively more inactive. No study in Vietnam has examined the association of metabolic syndrome with moderate to vigorous physical activity (PA) levels among adolescents. We aimed to examine this association in a sample of urban adolescents from Ho Chi Minh City. Methods. A cross-sectional assessment was conducted in 2007 on a representative sample of 693 high-school students from urban districts in Ho Chi Minh City. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the International Diabetes Federation criteria and physical activity was measured with Actigraph accelerometers. The association between physical activity and metabolic syndrome was assessed by using multiple logistic regression models. Results. Overall 4.6% of the adolescents and 11.8% of the overweight/obese adolescents had metabolic syndrome. Elevated BP was the most common individual component of the metabolic syndrome (21.5%), followed by hypertriglyceridemia (11.1%). After adjusting for other study factors, the odds of metabolic syndrome among youth in the lowest physical activity group (<43 minutes of physical activity/day) were five times higher than those in the highest physical activity group (>103 minutes/day) (AOR = 5.3, 95% CI: 1.5, 19.1). Metabolic syndrome was also positively associated with socioeconomic status (AOR = 9.4, 95% CI: 2.1, 42.4). Conclusions. A more physically active lifestyle appears to be associated with a lower odds of metabolic syndrome in Vietnamese adolescents. Socio-economic status should be taken into account when planning interventions to prevent adolescent metabolic syndrome.