Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Published Online:8 Feb 2019

Background: Several guidelines for cardiometabolic risk factor identification and management have been released in recent years, but there are no estimates of current prevalence of metabolic health among adults in the United States. 

Methods: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2016 were analyzed. Optimal metabolic health was defined by the following: waist circumference (WC <40/34 inches for men/women), glucose (fasting glucose <100 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1c <5.7%), blood pressure (systolic <120 and diastolic <80 mmHg), triglycerides (<150 mg/dL), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (≥40/50 mg/dL for men/women), and not taking any related medication.

Results:  With waist circumference included, the proportion of metabolically healthy Americans was ONLY 12.2%. Dropping WC from the definition increased the percentage of adults with optimal metabolic health ONLY 17.6%. Characteristics associated with better metabolic health were female gender, youth, more education, never smoking, practicing vigorous physical activity, and low body mass index. 

Conclusions: Optimal metabolic health in American adults is the bottom of the barrel, even in normal weight individuals, with 88% of the American population walking around with their check engine light on the dashboard of your car. We (the American people) take care of our cars (and other stuff) better than we do our body (and we only get one body!). Not fixing this problem will have consequential effects on your long-term health (for example heart attacks, strokes, cancer). 

Do you have optimal metabolic health, or do you want to find how to get back on the road to optimal health? Schedule your appointment with Live Ignite Thrive Medical today!

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Living Your Best Life – Your Path Starts Here

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Adam Weldzius, NP