If people are allowed to adopt healthy lifestyle
practices at their own free will, but at the same time, are provided with
skills and guidance to make the choices, it is possible that they would
continue to follow these practices over a prolonged duration. This could be an
important approach in preventing metabolic syndrome in the community, according
to a recent study.
Metabolic syndrome is a growing public health
concern. It includes a group of conditions that predispose a person to heart
disease and diabetes. The syndrome comprises of central obesity, increased
triglyceride level, reduced HDL or good cholesterol level, a high blood
pressure and high glucose levels. Sedentary lifestyle is an important cause of
How can one avoid metabolic syndrome? Metabolic
syndrome can be avoided by adopting lifestyle practices like a healthy diet and
adequate physical activity. Unfortunately, these modifications do not appeal to
most of us.
A recent study
investigated the efficacy of 80 minutes of supervised physical activity and
dietary interventions over 10 weeks in reducing indicators of metabolic
syndrome in fifty overweight or obese individuals.
The participants were divided into 2 groups; the
choice of which group to join depended on the individual. The first group, also
called the general education group, was counseled regarding diet and given a
physical activity regimen to be followed three times a week. The participants
of the second group, or the high fiber nutrition group, agreed to take a high
fiber diet (of 30g per day) and physical activity three times a week. They were
also given weekly dietary counseling. Physical measurements, blood tests and
dietary intake were recorded at the baseline and at the end of 10 weeks.
The study found that both the groups improved the
quality of food intake, but the second group presented with a higher intake of
fruit and vegetables. More number of participants reached the recommended
dietary intake in the second group. The second group also showed a reduction in
the incidence of metabolic syndrome; The participants had better reductions in
body measurements like waist circumference, weight, body mass index, body fat
and as well as blood pressure. They also experienced better reductions in
The study thus brings out an important fact which
is, if people are given the freedom to
make their own choice about the type of diet or lifestyle change they wish to
adopt, they are more likely to comply with the changes.
They should at the
same time be provided with adequate information and skills to achieve their
goals. Such interventions may particularly be useful and less expensive to
conduct in the community to reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome.
1. M S Mecca et al. Ten-week lifestyle changing program reduces several
indicators for metabolic syndrome in overweight adults. Diabetology &
Metabolic Syndrome 2012, 4:1 doi:10.1186/1758-5996-4-1