Eating a diet rich in unsaturated foods could be a key in fighting childhood metabolic syndrome, revealed a new study.
The study published in the Journal Pediatrics looked at the trends in metabolic syndrome severity among children and teenagers in the US. Childhood metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of risk factors such as belly fat and poor cholesterol levels that increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Virginia examined 5,000 children in the age group of 12 -19 years who were a part of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) completed between 1999 and 2012.
Researchers found that the rate of metabolic syndrome among the teens held steady during the study period. But the severity of the syndrome decreased. Children consumed lesser amount of carbohydrates, calories and higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
"While we don't know for sure why these improvements occurred, we saw that over time, children have eaten healthier diets, eating fewer calories overall, less carbohydrates and more food with unsaturated fat. This supports the important idea that changes to your lifestyle choices are the key to improving cardiovascular risk status," said study author Dr. Mark DeBoer, an associate professor of pediatrics, University of Virginia.
Reference: Mark D. DeBoer et al. "Trends in Metabolic Syndrome Severity and Lifestyle Factors Among Adolescents," Pediatrics, DOI:10.1542/peds.2015-3177.