Prevalence of metabolic health found to be very low among American adults

A new study found that the prevalence of metabolic health is very low among American adults, even among those who have normal weight. This has serious implications for public health, according to the study published in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Researchers Joana Araújo, PhD, Jianwen Cai, PhD, and June Stevens, PhD, from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health, coauthored the study entitled "Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2016."

The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, collected from 2009-2016. They estimated the proportion of American adults who had optimal cardiometabolic health using different sets of guidelines. Compared to older guidelines, the use of more recent guidelines with more rigorous cut-offs saw the proportion of metabolically healthy Americans decreased from near 20% to more than 12%. Optimal metabolic health was based on measures of waist circumference, glucose (fasting and HbA1c), blood pressure, triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and not taking any related medications.

"While we can quibble about the definition of metabolic health, it is alarming that only one-tenth of the population meets criteria for appropriate waist size, glucose, blood pressure and lipid profile" says Dr. Adrian Vella, Editor-in-Chief of Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders and Professor, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN.

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