Reversing Metabolic Syndrome through Diet and Exercise

Reversing Metabolic Syndrome through Diet and Exercise

By CareerSmart® Learning Contributor, as published by Healthcare Hot Spot

The obesity epidemic in this country is constantly being discussed in the news, reality television, and commercials. It is estimated that currently over 29 million people in the United States alone have Type 2 Diabetes.  While both obesity and type 2 diabetes continue to dominate the national conversation of health, there are other health indicators that can predict egregious health issues.

Research has shown that having metabolic syndrome greatly increases a person’s probability of developing coronary heart disease (CAD) and type 2 diabetes. While nearly 10% of the U.S. population has type 2 diabetes, it is estimated that approximately 34% of the U.S population has metabolic syndrome,   . High values in the areas of waist circumference (greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women), fasting blood glucose (100mg/dL or more), triglycerides (150 mg/dL or more), blood pressure (130/85 mm Hg or higher), and a low HDL result (40 mg/dL or lower for men; 50 mg/dL or lower for women) 3 comprise metabolic syndrome, but a person only needs three of those five markers to be diagnosed. That means even non-obese people with normal blood glucose can have metabolic syndrome.

The good news is that metabolic syndrome can be reversed, thereby decreasing the probability of developing CAD and type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet and exercise (typically accompanied by weight loss for overweight people) have been shown to reverse metabolic syndrome. A CDC study stated it more to the point, that “lower fitness was significantly associated with higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome.”2  To fight this creeping epidemic, the National Institutes of Health recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, which is the same amount of exercise recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As for a healthy diet, there are many to choose from to reverse metabolic syndrome. One option is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. It is recommended by many organizations, including the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Mayo Clinic. The dietary focus is on protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sugar.  Diet and exercise recommendations have changed very little over the years, but the rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome continue to increase. While recommendations are easier said than done, 34% of Americans have health issues that could be reversed through diet and exercise.

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1CDC.  2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report. 15 May 2015.

2Crist LA, Champagne CM, Corsino L, Lien LF, Zhang G, Young DR. Influence of change in aerobic fitness and weight on prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:110171. DOI:

3 American Heart Association. What is Metabolic Syndrome? Last update, 5/14/14. Retrieved on 5/14/16 from

October 21, 2020

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