While it’s not news that we’re becoming more and more overweight as a society, a new study published in the Journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders discovered that only 12.2 percent of Americans can be considered metabolically healthy, regardless of whether or not they’re obese. Though we may not be quite as bad in Canada, I'm sure our numbers aren't amazing, either.
Yes, only approximately 1 out of 8 people are can be considered healthy! Considering 60 percent of Americans are considered obese, this means even the thinner folks have metabolic problems.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean obesity doesn’t still factor in. Au contraire. The study also found less than 1 percent of obese adults are metabolically healthy.
Before we go any further, let’s talk about what we mean by metabolic health:
Basically, being metabolically healthy means your body is functioning efficiently. Being overweight does play a huge role in being metabolically unhealthy, but what we’re really referring to here when is becoming insulin resistant, having Type 2 diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome, and ultimately being at a high risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases.
OK, back to the study:
The study examined close to 9,000 people between 2009 and 2016 to discover who is at low risk and who is at high risk for various metabolic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
To come to their conclusions, they considered five metabolic markers, including blood glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), blood pressure and waist circumference. Those with no need to be medicated for any of the above factors (ideally with optimal levels of the above) are considered metabolically healthy.
Interestingly, some of the most important indicators that determined who fell into the 12.2 percent of healthy adults included being physically active, being female, being young, being educated and being a non-smoker.
While you have no control over your age, or whether you were biologically born male or female, you can definitely control whether you become a smoker and how physically active you choose to be…
Before you brush this off as just one study, here’s some more evidence about how being more physically active and physically fit improves the five markers of metabolic health: blood glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference
Exercise and blood glucose:
There’s a boatload of evidence pointing to physical activity and physical fitness and how it lowers blood sugar levels and decreases you chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. This 2015 study, for one, shows strong evidence that being physically active lowers blood glucose levels, especially for people who are already Type 2 diabetic.
Exercise and triglycerides:
For the record, triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. High levels are linked to poor metabolic health and heart disease. Once again, being physically fit lowers unhealthy triglyceride levels.
Exercise and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol:
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) is the “good cholesterol.” High levels here are good and are linked to a decrease in heart disease and an increase in metabolic health. You guessed it: Exercise and being physically fit helps bring these levels up to a healthy place. Here’s a good article that explains more if you’re interested in digging a bit deeper.
Exercise and blood pressure:
Exercise is commonly considered a drug-free way to lower high blood pressure. Read more here.
Exercise and waist circumference:
OK, so exercise alone (and continuing to eat all the bad food in sight) isn’t going to help you reach an appropriate waist circumference for your build, but the good news is training with us means we’ll also help you with the other important piece of the waist circumference puzzle: Diet, diet, diet.
Sooooo…contact us now to get you on track to better metabolic health. Because who doesn’t want to be in that top 12.2 percent?