Only 12 Percent of U.S. Adults Have a Healthy Metabolism, Study Finds

The College of Arts at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill.



CHAPEL HILL, NC — A shockingly low 12 percent of American adults are metabolically health according to a new study from the University of North Carolina, a problem that is causing serious problems for public health, the university’s website said.

In total only 1 in 8 Americans are achieving optimal metabolic health, which UNC researchers called “alarmingly low.” Those who suffer from poor metabolic health are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious issues, they said.

“The study fills a gap,” said Joana Araujo, a postdoctoral research associate in nutrition and the study’s first author.

“We wanted to know how many American adults really meet the guidelines for all of these risk factors and are within optimal levels for disease prevention and health. Based on the data, few Americans are achieving metabolic health, which is quite alarming and should spur renewed attention to population-based interventions.”

It is considered to be the most updated U.S. data on metabolic health, which is defined by the following five factors: blood glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference, without the need for medications.



Those who were considered to be metabolically healthy were more likely to be physically active, female, younger, more educated and a non-smoker.

African Americans and those with a higher body mass index were less likely to be metabolically healthy.

“Most disturbing is the absence of optimal metabolic health in adults who had obesity, less than a high school education, were not physically active and were current smokers. Stronger and more widely accessible strategies to promote healthier lifestyles are urgently warranted,” wrote Araujo and her colleagues.

For more information on the study, published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, check out the full article here.

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