Most Americans Have Unhealthy Metabolism, Study Finds

by | May 18, 2021 | Resilience

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Metabolic health in American adults is alarmingly low, with large number of people not achieving optimal levels of risk factors, even in low-risk groups.

The term “metabolism” encompasses the chemical processes involved in keeping your body alive and functioning normally, using energy from the food you eat. If you have “metabolic health,” things are working as they should, but according to an analysis of seven years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, only 1 in 8 American adults are metabolically healthy.

The researchers assessed metabolic health according to several indicators: waist circumference, blood glucose levels and triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels. They defined “metabolic health” as having optimal levels of all of these without a need for diabetes or blood pressure medication.

Women were more likely to be metabolically healthy than men, as were persons who had never smoked, those who engaged in vigorous physical activity and the highly-educated. While obesity is considered to be a primary indicator of poor metabolic health, less than a third of the normal-weight adults in the study were metabolically healthy.

“Prevalence of metabolic health in American adults is alarmingly low,” said the researchers. “The large number of people not achieving optimal levels of risk factors, even in low-risk groups, has serious implications for public health.”

These findings could be received as a call to action as much as a cause of despair. The good news is that changes in diet and lifestyle can have significant impact on the metabolic indicators measured in the study.

If you’d like a better understanding of how the food you eat can cause your metabolism to go off-kilter, the eSavvyHealth course The Carbohydrate Wars can help.

Fundamentals of Health Alliance

Fundamentals of Health Alliance


The Fundamentals of Health Alliance works to publish useful and reliable information about nutrition and health. Their mission is to empower readers to be informed with honest, non-biased information about food, nutrition and the vital components of health.

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