Metabolic syndrome (MetS), i.e., meeting criteria for any three of the following: hyperglycemia, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein and/or abdominal obesity, is associated with negative health outcomes. For example, MetS negatively impacts cognition; however, less is known about incremental MetS risk, i.e., meeting 1 or 2 as opposed to 3 or more criteria. We hypothesized incremental MetS risk would negatively contribute to cognition and relevant neuroanatomy, e.g., memory and hippocampal volumes, and that this risk extends to affective functioning. 119 non-demented/non-depressed participants (age=60.1+12.9;~50% African American) grouped by incremental MetS risk-no (0 criteria met), low (1-2 criteria met), or high (3+ criteria met)-were compared across cognition, affect and relevant neuroanatomy using multivariable linear regressions. Exploratory analyses, stratified by race, consider the role of health disparities in disease severity of individual MetS component (e.g., actual blood pressure readings) on significant results from primary analyses. Incremental MetS risk contributed to depressive symptomatology (no<low<high), learning and memory performance (no>low=high) after controlling for age, race (n.s.) and IQ. Different indices of disease severity contributed to different aspects of brain structure and function by race providing empirical support for future studies of the impact distinct health disparities in vascular risk have on brain aging. MetS compromised mood, cognition and hippocampal structure with incremental risk applying to some but not all of these outcomes. Care providers may wish to monitor a broader spectrum of risk including components of MetS like blood pressure and cholesterol levels when considering brain-behavior relationships in adults from diverse populations.