According to a recent published study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey between 2009-2016, only 12% of Americans have good metabolic health. This means that 7 out of every 8 Americans do not have good metabolic health. These are pretty dismal numbers by all accounts.
What was concerning with this study was that even people with so called normal body weight may not have good metabolic health! The paper goes on to warn that these implications pose a high concern for public health.
In today’s article we’ll go over what metabolic health is. Why we need to be concerned about metabolic health. How this is different from other health parameters. How we can quickly assess our metabolic health. Why we need to be concerned about it and finally what are some of the measures we can start taking to improve our metabolic health.
What is Metabolic health?
Metabolic health is a term that is used to identify a cluster of measurements that could increase the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.
Metabolic health looks at five measurements. The parenthesis show the normal range.
- Triglycerides (normal less than 150 mg/dL)
- Waist circumference (women less than 35 inches; men less than 40 inches)
- Fasting blood sugars (less than 100 mg/dL; or A1c less than 5.7%)
- Blood pressure (less than 120/80 mm hg)
- Body weight (BMI less than 25.0)
Why metabolic health is important?
Your metabolic health is simply looking at these five measurements and comparing it to the normal range. It is letting us know your current health status as it relates to these five categories.
Why are these five measurements important? These measurements happen to be the same measurements used to determine your risk for a cluster of abnormalities called the metabolic syndrome.
If any 3 out of the 5 measurements above are abnormal, then this is called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome there is a higher risk for cardiometabolic disease is higher. To learn more about metabolic syndrome click here.
How to measure your metabolic health
Step 1 -check your weight and take your height.
I usually recommend checking your weight first thing in the morning, after you have used the bathroom and preferably with no clothes on. This gives a more accurate measure of your fasting body weight with no fluid fluctuations that could occur during the day.
Again I prefer this measurement first thing in the morning after a stretch. Stand against a door post and have a friend or family member mark the top most part of your head with a marker.
Next, plug these two numbers into a BMI calculator.
To calculate your body mass index click here
Step 2-measure your waist circumference
Your waist is the mid-point between the tip of your hip bones and your lower midcage. If you bend to the side the crease you see is your natural waist line. Measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape at this point standing up tall and after you have completely exhaled. In women the waist circumference should be less than 35 inches and in men less than 40 inches.
Step 3 -check your blood pressure
Blood pressure can be measured with a machine called a sphygmomanometer. Most local pharmacies and even department stores have digital blood pressure machines. You can also schedule a nurse visit at your healthcare provider’s office and have your blood pressure checked there. It’s important to take a few deep breaths, sit up straight with your two feet on the ground and using the left arm. It’s a good idea to take three readings at least five minutes apart and then take use the best of the three readings.
Step 4 – have your fasting blood sugar and your fasting lipid panel checked.
You may need to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to have this done.
Once you have all the measurements, you’ll be better able to know your metabolic health.
Remember that knowledge is the first step to personal empowerment. Perhaps your metabolic health is not at par. That’s not really where I want to focus on right now. We already know that only 12% of Americans meet the criteria for being metabolically healthy. So, let’s not focus on the doom and gloom.
What I find reassuring when I look at this information, is that these measurements can be modified. They are called modifiable risk factors.
Modifiable means that you can do something about them.
As I point out in my award-winning book, “Dr. Eno’s A-to-Z Guide to Thriving with Type 2 Diabetes” the first three steps to dealing with any challenge are critical mindset strategies- acceptance, belief, and commitment to change.
Instinctively we know what we need to do, eat ‘healthier’ and exercise more. But if it were as simple as that why do we have an obesity epidemic?
My mission is to provide you with tools which will allow you to create a permanent shift in your way of being so that you can become more empowered in the choices you make when it comes to your overall wellbeing.
In my next article I’ll be reviewing how fasting can help improve your metabolic health.
Until next time,
To your health and wellbeing,
To download a free copy of the first three chapters of my book click here