Just a month or two before the pandemic began, researchers at the University of North Carolina discovered that only 12.2% of Americans were metabolically healthy. As alarming as that number may sound, it’s only going to get worse.
When Covid-19 struck, and life as we knew it changed, it was clear that metabolic health was a large factor in Covid-19 survival rates; 40% of people who died of Covid had diabetes. In the U.S., 96M have prediabetes — a largely reversible disease with lifestyle changes — and a staggering 80% don’t even know they have it.
These numbers are only going to get worse: Childhood obesity is predicted to rise by 60% in the coming decade. There are 537 million people around the world living with diabetes today (up from around 108 million in the 1980s), with a predicted increase to 643M by 2030 and nearly 800M by 2045 — around 250M incremental new cases in the next two decades.
Medical costs for obesity alone are expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2025, proving that the measures in place to prevent chronic health issues are clearly inadequate.
It’s likely that today even fewer than 12% of people are metabolically healthy. That study looked at data between 2009 and 2016, determining how many adults are at low versus high risk for chronic disease, with the data revealing that only 27.3M people out of the total U.S. population meet recommended targets for cardiovascular risk factors.
How much worse things have gotten since that 2009-2016 time period is unclear, but what is clear is that year after year the rates of chronic diseases like diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease are skyrocketing.
What can you do to ensure you’re one of the few metabolically healthy individuals? Well, first, let’s look at the five markers of metabolic health
What are the five markers of metabolic health?
- Blood sugar — a level below 100 mg/dL and above 70 mg/dL
- Waist circumference — less than 40 inches for me and less than 34.6 inches for women
- Blood pressure — at or below 120/80
- Cholesterol — LDL as low as possible and HDL cholesterol greater than or equal to 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women
- Triglycerides — below 150 mg/dL
To learn more about metabolic health and the five markers, read our in-depth metabolic health guide for everything you need to know.
How do you improve your metabolic health?
Becoming metabolically healthier is more than just doing one thing right. It’s based on a combination of lifestyle changes, including:
On our January blog, you’ll find a wealth of articles centered around blood sugar control to unlock your metabolic health, via the January AI app and a CGM. Be sure to take a look for the best tips and advice.
Given how poor we’re doing as a nation, and that things are only getting worse, improving our metabolic health is something we should all strive to achieve.