The Metabolic Syndrome and Your Occupation?

Researchers at the University of Miami have published a new study which explores age-adjusted risk for the metabolic syndrome based on different occupations.  Right now, you might be asking yourself, “what is the Metabolic Syndrome?”

To provide some background, the metabolic syndrome is considered a multiplex risk factor or basically a combination of medical disorders which increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, fatty liver, diabetes and several types of cancer.  Doesn’t sound like very much fun?

Metabolic syndrome results from a combination of abnormal adipose or fat tissue deposition as well as insulin resistance.  The metabolic syndrome often manifests itself with features including high blood pressure, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and cholesterol levels (LDL).  As well, it often includes high triglyercide levels as well as abdominal obesity.  Specific guidelines actually include these conditions in the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.

Back to the study…  A recent study published in the journal, Diabetes Care, by researchers in Miami, Florida explored the prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome among US Workers (Davila et al, 2010).

Which type of workers are at the greatest risk for metabolic syndrome?

  • food preparation and food service workers – greatest risk
  • farm managers, operators, and supervisors – also have the were in the highest risk category (29.6-31.1% age-adjusted prevalence)
  • transportation/material moving workers had significantly greater odds than executive, administrative, and managerial professionals.

Which occupations had the lowest risk?

  • writers, artists, entertainers, athletes – lowest risk
  • engineers, architects, and scientists — also lowest risk (8.5-9.2% age-adjusted prevalence)

Bottom line:

  • By identifying the groups at greatest risk, measures can be taken to identify risk factors for metabolic syndrome in these workers.
  • Ensure you visit your doctor regularly for appropriate screening tests for cardiovascular risk factors (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar (hemoglobin A1c), etc.
  • Lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise could go a long way towards the prevention of metabolic syndrome.

For more about this topic, visit Doug’s take on the metabolic syndrome.

Reference:

  1. Davila EP, Florez H, Fleming LE, Lee DJ, Goodman E, Leblanc WG, Caban-Martinez AJ, Arheart KL, McCollister KE, Christ SL, Clark JC 3rd, Clarke T. Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome among US Workers.Diabetes Care. 2010 Jun 28.