Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Strength Training Minimizes Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a condition of several risk factors that place individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Research to date suggests that higher levels of activity and fitness protect against developing metabolic syndrome, but what has not yet been established is whether resistance exercise provides a benefit similar to that of cardiovascular exercise. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of muscular strength on the incidence of metabolic syndrome in men.

Participants were 3,233 men ranging in age from 20 to 80 who were initially free of metabolic disease. Two clinical examinations were performed between 1980 and 2003; these exams which included baseline muscular strength assessments.

A total of 480 men developed metabolic syndrome during the study period. Compared to the lowest strength category, the men in the highest strength category had a 39% lower risk of metabolic syndrome than overweight and obese men. This inverse relationship was independent of age and other risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, family history, alcohol intake, and premature coronary disease.

The results of this study indicate an inverse and independent relationship between muscular strength and the incidence of metabolic syndrome in healthy men. Fitness Professionals should consider resistance exercise as a primary means of prevention of metabolic syndrome.

Jurca, Radim, et al. Association of muscular strength with incidence of metabolic syndrome in men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2005: 37(11), 1849-1855.

Walking shown to be most
Effective for Maintaining Weight Loss

Research continues to point to exercise as the key to maintaining weight loss. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of exercise on weight maintenance.

Subjects were 191 adult women, most of whom where obese, averaging 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. Participants were advised to follow a low-fat eating program ranging from 1,200-1,500 calories a day. Different exercise intensities were assigned to the participants during the two-year period. Eighty percent of the subjects chose to walk briskly, but the amount of time subjects actually exercised varied from 150 minutes per week to more than 200 minutes per week.

All subjects lost weight, but the women who exercised the most, more than 309 minutes per week the first year and more than 270 minutes per week the second year, lost and kept off the most weight. They lost an average of 13% of their starting weight, which amounted to 25 to 30 pounds.

The results of this study indicate that approximately 50 minutes of brisk walking five days per week can initiate and maintain a 25 to 30 pound weight loss in overweight and obese populations. It is important to note that the walk needs to be done briskly, at a speed equal to or greater than 3 miles per hour. This amount of exercise can also be accumulated throughout the day rather than done in one continuous session.

Jakicic, John et al. University of Pittsburgh. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Obesity Society in Vancouver, B.C. Reported in USA Today, October 24, 2005 page 7D.

Obese Patients May Require
Plus-sized Hypodermic Needles

The obesity epidemic has another unexpected side effect: Heavier patients now require plus sized needles for injections.

Researchers in Ireland have discovered that fatter rear ends are causing drug injections to lose their efficacy. The issue is that standard sized needles discharge the drugs into the fatty tissue of the butt as opposed to into the muscle tissue, where, thanks to increased blood flow, the medicine is carried through the body more efficiently. The researchers found that 2/3 of the heavier patients did not receive the full dosage of the medicine since the depth of their fat exceeded the lengthy of the hypodermic needle.

As reported by Reuters, 11-28-05.

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