University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, Maryland.
The metabolic syndrome is the clustering of several cardiometabolic risk factors that can lead to the development of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. We evaluated whether a change in aerobic fitness resulting from a lifestyle intervention could significantly change the odds of metabolic syndrome prevalence.
Participants (n = 810) were recruited into PREMIER, a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial with outcome assessments at 6 and 18 months. The primary eligibility criterion was a diagnosis of prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension. PREMIER randomized participants to 2 lifestyle interventions, both of which included increased physicalactivity, or an advice-only control group. Participants completed a submaximal treadmill exercise test; we used reduction in heart rate as the measure of improved aerobic fitness. We used logistic regression to determine intervention effects on metabolic syndrome prevalence. Our models controlled for dietary pattern change.
The lifestyle interventions had no significant effect on metabolic syndrome prevalence at 6 months or 18 months. When combining intervention and control groups, at 6 and 18 months, a 1-beat-per-minute reduction in heart rate was associated with a 4% reduction in prevalence of metabolic syndrome (P < .001). When we tested for weight change as a mediator, the association was no longer significant.
Increased aerobic fitness may reduce prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This association appears to be mediated through concomitant weight change.