Metabolic syndrome on the rise

October 13, 2004 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Metabolic syndrome on the rise

The prevalence of metabolic syndrome is increasing among American adults, and will likely lead to increases in diabetes and heart disease, results of a recent study suggest.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including high levels of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and abdominal obesity, which together greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes.

Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, studied 6436 men and women at least 20 years of age who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III (1988-1994) and 1677 subjects from NHANES 1999 to 2000.

Individuals who met at least three of the following criteria were defined as having the metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, low high-density cholesterol (the "good‘ or ’HDL‘ cholesterol), high blood pressure and high fasting blood sugar levels.

The team observed an increase in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome of 23.5% in women and 2.2% in men. The increase in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, especially among women, was mainly accounted for by increases in high blood pressure, waist circumference, and high triglyceride levels.

The researchers noted "health care professionals have a critical role in preventing the development of the metabolic syndrome in their patients through weight management and the achievement of proper physical activity levels’.

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