One-third have metabolic syndrome, and the numbers will grow


Cutting back on eating out is one way to address metabolic syndrome.

Almost half of people over 60 and one-third of all adults have metabolic syndrome, a combination of health concerns that can lead to heart disease and diabetes, according to research released May 19. That is concerning, researchers say, because the country’s population is aging, so more disease is expected.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels and a large waist. Doctors are increasingly looking at these symptoms to determine heart disease risk, said Dr. Robert Wong with the University of California, San Francisco. The research appeared in the May 19 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Wong and his team studied data from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention between 2003 and 2012. They discovered that 35 percent had metabolic syndrome in 2011 to 2012, up from 33 percent in 2003 to 2004. The National Institutes of Health explains that while about 47 percent of people 60 or older have metabolic syndrome, only about 18 percent of adults 20 to 39 years old have the condition, leading researchers to conclude that age is a strong contributor. Researchers also found that among those over 60, more than 50 percent of women and people of Latino heritage have metabolic syndrome.

Age affects many of the individual conditions that make up metabolic syndrome because people tend to become less active, heavier and more insulin resistant, doctors said.

Fight back by taking steps to reduce your risk factors.

One of the first steps you can take is walking as often as possible. Park farther away. You’d waste time finding a closer spot anyway, so you may as well use that time walking to improve your health.

A second easy step is drinking more water. Skip drinks that add calories, especially soft drinks and those with a lot of sugar.

A third baby step you can take is to cut down on eating out. Home-made food is generally healthier for you than restaurant items. If you make an effort to buy healthy food and prepare it in a heart-healthy way, you’ll be that much more ahead in your fight against metabolic syndrome.