To avoid disease later in life, regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential. According to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, following a simple healthy lifestyle can be the key for middle-aged adults achieving optimal cardiometabolic health later in life.
Cardiometabolic health risk factors are most noted for including metabolic syndrome. This syndrome includes a cluster of symptoms such as excess fat around the waistline, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure. Research has previously found that the presence of metabolic syndrome can increase the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
Optimal Lifestyle Requirements
It has been unclear whether physical activity and adherence to a healthy diet, as opposed to only one of the two, are optimal for reducing the risk of cardiometabolic health outcomes later in life. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set the guidelines for physical activity and dietary guidelines that researchers used to gauge participants’ data.
The physical activity guideline recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. The dietary guidelines suggest healthy eating patterns, nutritional targets, and dietary limits.
For the study, data from 2,379 participants of the Framingham Heart Study was analyzed. Participants had an average age of 47 and were 54% women. Physical activity was evaluated using a device known as an omnidirectional accelerometer. Participant’s dietary information was collected through questionnaires which measured the kinds and levels of food and nutrients consumed.
The investigation concluded that among all participants, 28% met the recommendations of both physical activity and dietary guidelines. 47% only achieved one of the recommended guidelines.
Those who followed the physical activity recommendations alone had 51% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Participants who followed dietary guidelines had a 33% lower risk, and those who followed both guidelines had 65% lower odds of developing metabolic syndrome.
“It is noteworthy that we observed a dose-response association of adherence to diet and physical activity guidelines with risk of cardiometabolic disease later in life,” said corresponding author Vanessa Xanthakis. “Participants who met the physical activity guidelines had progressively lower risk of cardiometabolic disease as they increased adherence to the dietary guidelines.”
This study helps to outline the importance of following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise in middle age. With more research focusing on lifestyle habits to help reduce the risks of health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, physicians are better equipped to offer prevention suggestions to their patients.