Having a certain body type can affect your risk for heart disease. A “pear” shape, where fat tends to concentrate around the buttocks and thighs, is associated with a lower risk, whereas an “apple” shape, where much of the fat lies in the middle of the body, boosts heart disease risk.
Metabolic syndrome is defined as having three of more of the following:
Metabolic syndrome is a forerunner to other chronic diseases, including stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis evaluated information from 4,727 men and women who took part of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study to look for a connection between vitamin D intake and the development of metabolic syndrome over a 20-year period.
The people gave detailed information about their diets, including how much vitamin D they consumed from food and supplements. The researchers recorded the number of people who developed metabolic syndrome, as well as any of the components of the condition, including high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol.
Most of the vitamin D in the participants’ diets came from milk, fish, and other seafood.
“Total vitamin D consumption, including the intake of supplements, may lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome as [people] transition to middle age,” the authors concluded. “Our study findings contribute to the body of literature that shows a beneficial relation of serum or dietary vitamin D with chronic disease and suggest that vitamin D intake may be a potential strategy to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease risk factors.”
Beyond increasing your vitamin D intake, here are some key strategies to warding off metabolic syndrome and its consequences:
(Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:24–9)