Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that include midsection obesity, meaning belly fat; hypertension; and adverse glucose and insulin metabolism. It is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Peter M. Magyari, from the University of North Florida, and colleagues analysed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an ongoing, nationally representative study of health risk factors.
Respondents were simply asked whether they lifted weights. The responses were analysed for association with metabolic syndrome. Of the 5,618 adults who had fasting blood samples for analysis, 8.8 per cent said that they did lift weights. Lifting was about twice as common for men as women: 11.2 vs. 6.3 per cent. It was also more common among younger people—lifting weights became less frequent for people aged 50 years and older.
The investigators observed that metabolic syndrome was far less prevalent among those who reported lifting weights than those who did not: 24.6 per cent vs. 37.3 per cent. The authors conclusion is the “[strong encouragement of] the activity of [lifting weights] among adults of all ages to promote metabolic health.”
— Dr. Bob Goldman
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