The majority of Americans were classified as unhealthy prior to the pandemic hitting. With many of us self quarantining at home since then, that number, sadly, has probably only increased.
Many people actually think “healthy” refers to how much they weigh or what someones outward appearance looks like. Good overall health, however, starts internally. This is where the term metabolic health comes in. Some also refer to this as metabolic fitness. In any event, metabolic health is the absence of metabolic disease. The numbers in this country are not good. About 88 percent of Americans are considered to have metabolic disease. The good news, though, metabolic health can improve through healthy eating and regular exercise, especially a short walk after meals.
“Flying blind, 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Using their best judgment, 59% of people say conflicting nutrition information makes them question their choices. Worse, only 12% of all Americans are actually metabolically healthy.”Anthony Vennare – Co-Founder, Fitt Insider
Research on Metabolic Health
In a 2019 study published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reviewed data from 8,721 adults as reported in the 2009 to 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found that just 1 in 8 adults living in United States had optimal metabolic health.
A second study published in 2016 in the journal Circulation, applied seven lifestyle and risk factors criteria from the American Heart Association to national data published between 2011 to 2012. The results found virtually 0% of U.S. adults met all the ideal levels. These levels included: not smoking, having a healthy diet, physical activity, normal weight and total cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose level.
Finally, it has been determined through research that 23 percent of adults have metabolic syndrome. This condition occurs when a person fails to meet at least three of the ideal measurements with things like blood pressure and glucose levels (seen below).
What Constitutes Metabolic Health?
Using most recent guidelines, metabolic health was defined as having optimal levels of the following six criteria.
- Waist Circumference (WC <40/34 inches for men/women respectively).
- Glucose (fasting glucose <100 mg/dl).
- Hemoglobin (A1c <5.7%).
- Blood Pressure (systolic <120 and diastolic <80 mmHg).
- Triglycerides (<150 mg/dl).
- High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (≥40/50 mg/dl for men/women), and not taking any related medication.
Likewise, the International Diabetes Federation, states metabolic unhealthy individuals were defined as those who presented at least one of the following criteria:
- Systolic/Diastolic Blood Pressure ≥130/85 mm Hg or use of antihypertensive drug.
- Triglycerides level ≥150 mg/dl.
- HDL-Cholesterol Level < 40 mg/dl in men or < 50 mg/dl in women or use of lipid-lowering drugs.
- Glucose level ≥100 mg/dl or use of antidiabetic drug.
Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health
A possible tool to help improve metabolic health is intermittent fasting (IF). There has been a great deal of research over the years on the effects of IF on the body, including metabolic health. A review published in the revered New Journal of Medicine by Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D., looked at the powerful effects of IF including glucose regulation that could help your metabolic health cause.
Intermittent fasting elicits evolutionarily conserved, adaptive cellular responses that are integrated between and within organs in a manner that improves glucose regulation, increases stress resistance, and suppresses inflammation. During fasting, cells activate pathways that enhance intrinsic defenses against oxidative and metabolic stress and those that remove or repair damaged molecules.”Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D
Therefore, continue to focus on regular exercise each week. Specifically, strength training and various forms of high intensity interval exercise. Mix this into your cardio at least 1-2 times a week. In addition, have your blood profile checked yearly or better yet, every six months to keep a handle on your metabolic health.
Get Strong and Stay Strong with Jefit
Millions of members have had great success using the Jefit app, equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.