Tiny tweaks in lifestyles can significantly reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome. A ten week long lifestyle intervention that focussed on physical activity and high fiber intake in overweight / obese individuals was found to be effective.
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.
AdvertisementMetabolic 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 metabolic syndrome.
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 cholesterol levels.
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