Very Few US Adults Are Metabolically Healthy

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Very few U.S. adults are metabolically healthy.

HealthDay News — Very few U.S. adults are metabolically healthy, according to a study published online Nov. 27 in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders.

Joana Araújo, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009 to 2016; 8,721 participants) to estimate the proportion of American adults with optimal cardiometabolic health according to different guidelines.

The researchers found that changing from the Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines to more recent cut points decreased the number of metabolically healthy Americans from 19.9 to 12.2 percent. 

Removing waist circumference from the definition increased the percentage of adults with optimal metabolic health to 17.6 percent. Greater prevalence of metabolic health was associated with female gender, youth, more education, never smoking, practicing vigorous physical activity, and low body mass index. Metabolic health was seen in fewer than one-third of normal-weight adults, 8 percent of overweight individuals, and 0.5 percent of obese individuals.

“The large number of people not achieving optimal levels of risk factors, even in low-risk groups, has serious implications for public health,” the authors write.

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