The COLLAPSE of health: New study finds that 88% of adults are metabolically diseased
12/06/2018 // Tracey Watson // Views

Would it shock you to know that only 12 out of every 100 American adults is considered by experts to be metabolically healthy? This statistic should be a cause for grave concern to every single one of us, since metabolic health is the single biggest indicator of whether or not a person will develop one or more of the world’s leading causes of death, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and other dangerous conditions.

A study by researchers from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, recently confirmed that 88 percent of all adults in this country are metabolically diseased, making them ticking time bombs in terms of their long-term health.

The five indicators of metabolic health

Of course, just looking at somebody from the outside can be misleading in terms of how healthy they truly are. For this reason, medical professionals evaluate five specific indicators to determine how metabolically healthy someone really is. These indicators are triglyceride levels, blood pressure readings, waist circumference, blood glucose levels and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

A person who manages to maintain optimal levels of these five readings is deemed to be metabolically healthy.

For their study, the research team evaluated data collected from 8,721 Americans who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2009 and 2016. They found that when extrapolated against the general population, only 27.3 million American adults would be considered metabolically healthy, most of them women who are highly educated, physically active and who do not smoke.


“Based on the data, few Americans are achieving metabolic health, but the most disturbing finding was the complete absence of optimal metabolic health in adults who had obesity, less than a high school education, were not physically active and were current smokers,” noted Joana Araujo, the study’s first author and a postdoctoral research associate in nutrition at the University of North Carolina. “Our findings should spur renewed attention to population-based interventions and widely accessible strategies to promote healthier lifestyles.”

How we can turn it around

Discovering that the vast majority of us are basically diseases waiting to happen should be a wake-up call but should not leave us feeling helpless or dejected. The fact is, if we work hard and invest a little time and effort in our health, our bodies will quickly reward us 10-fold. Blood pressure readings can be reduced; unhealthy levels of triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol can be lowered; our waists can certainly grow smaller and, with the right foods, blood glucose levels can be normalized.

Being healthy is not nearly as complicated as people like to make out. It does not have to involve special, complicated diets with lots of complicated calorie counting. The basics are really quite simple.

Eat right

The first and probably the most important factor in optimizing health is diet. Eating as many fresh fruits and veggies (preferably choosing organic, non-GMO varieties) as possible; avoiding all sugary, processed foods and drinks; eating more of the right kinds of fats found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and avocados; and avoiding meat from animals that have been fed routine antibiotics and growth hormones will ensure optimal nutrition absorption.


Experts advise that we be as active as possible. This does not mean training to run marathons; it simply means incorporating regular, moderate exercise that you really enjoy into your everyday life. (Related: Five ways to rack up above average results in your exercise routine.)

Maintain a healthy weight

If you are overweight by a little or a lot, it is important to find out what your correct Body Mass Index (BMI) is and then eat healthier and exercise more until that level is achieved. And once you get there, make sure you stay there. (Related: New trial suggests that weight loss can reverse Type 2 diabetes.)

Anyone who makes these three healthy choices will ensure that they are metabolically healthy and set themselves up for long-term health and vitality. Learn more tips for living a long health life at

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