People gauge their health status in many different ways. For some, if they simply aren’t experiencing a sickness or illness currently, they consider themselves “healthy”. For others, it may be absence of symptoms coupled with doing all they can to promote their own good health. They exercise regularly, eat clean, get the proper rest. All seems good. But do you know what is really going on inside your body?
One way to be sure is to have regular assessments that measure different aspects of your health. Not only is it a good way to monitor the results of your efforts, but it is also a tool for prevention! If things aren’t looking “optimal”, you have the chance to make corrections before any negative side effects are seen. Unfortunately, according to a study published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disordersin November, too many people aren’t using this strategy. Based on certain criteria, only about 1 in 8 have what is considered good metabolic health!
Researchers looked at data from over 8,700 adults who responded to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2009 and 2016. Five criteria were needed to be in normal range (without medications) to be able to be considered in good metabolic health. These included:
- Blood sugar
- HDL (high-density lipoproteins, the “good” cholesterol)
- Blood pressure
- Waist circumference
Overall, only 12% of respondents had achieved good metabolic health! This is quite staggering, considering poor metabolic health increases the risk of serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Even more troubling is that for those who were obese, a smoker, not physically active or had less than a high school education, optimal health achievement was almost non-existent. Those who were obese had the worst odds, with less than only 1% being considered metabolically healthy.
While being female or younger or more educated did offer an edge in achieving these benchmarks, there are certain lifestyle factors that could help anyone earn a better grade if it didn’t hit the passing mark. Start with being more physically active. The metabolic benefits of exercise, even just walking, can have a positive effect on all 5 of the categories. Diet is another easy way to shift the balance, and it will go hand in hand for benefits just like exercise. Quitting smoking should just be a given, as there is no benefit to partaking of this damaging habit.
Lastly, if you are dealing with any of these issues and need help, a good functional medicine program may be just what you need. We offer programs that help you get to the root cause of what may be driving issues such as high blood sugars or cholesterol so that you can correct them naturally and not have to rely on medications to keep you out of the danger zone. As well as helping you to achieve a passing metabolic health grade!