A new study has found that certain lifestyle habits play a significant role in the possibility of developing metabolic syndrome.
The study has been published in the ‘Preventive Medicine Journal’. The researchers from the University of Tsukuba have revealed that the level of risk that lifestyle factors confer for metabolic syndrome tends to be higher in non-obese than obese individuals in Japan. Metabolic syndrome is a complex of abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. People with metabolic syndrome are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and diabetes than people who do not have these traits.
“It is known that non-obese individuals with some of these characteristics (hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension) are also more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” said the lead author of the study Professor Fumi Takeda.
“However, it is unclear what lifestyle factors put non-obese people at risk of developing metabolic syndrome,” added Professor Takeda.
To answer this question, the researchers analysed data from almost 100,000 Japanese adults who underwent specific health checkups consisting of a medical examination and a self-administered questionnaire about lifestyle factors such as eating, drinking, smoking, and exercise habits.
“The results showed similarities in risk factors for metabolic syndrome among both obese and non-obese individuals,” explained Professor Takeda.
“We found that older age, male sex, weight gain greater 10 kg since their 20s, current smoking, slow walking, quick eating, and greater alcohol consumption put individuals at higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, regardless of whether they were obese or not,” added Professor Takeda.
A lack of regular exercise was linked to metabolic syndrome in obese, but not non-obese individuals.
“Our findings suggest that metabolic syndrome can occur even in non-obese individuals who have similar lifestyle habits to obese individuals,” stated Professor Takeda.
Given that these lifestyle factors can lead to metabolic syndrome even in lean people, counselling lean older men regarding smoking cessation and reducing alcohol intake, among other lifestyle factors, could help prevent the development of the metabolic syndrome and thereby decrease their risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes later in life.