Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vitamin D deficiency associated with cardiovascular disease prevalence

In a large sample of U.S. adults, new research indicates that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease.

Inadequate vitamin D levels are known to be associated with certain cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, but until recently the association between vitamin D levels and the prevalence of CVD had not been comprehensively examined in the general U.S. population.

In a recent study published in Atherosclerosis, researchers examined data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a population-based sample of more than 16,000 U.S. adults.

In the total survey population, 1,308 subjects had some form of CVD. Using the standard definition of vitamin D deficiency (a serum level below 20 ng/mL), participants with CVD had a higher incidence of vitamin D deficiency (29.3%) than those without CVD (21.4%). After adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, season of measurement, physical activity, body mass index, smoking status, hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, chronic kidney disease, and vitamin D use, the researchers showed that subjects deficient in vitamin D had a 20% increased risk of CVD.

The results of this analysis indicate a significant relationship between vitamin D deficiency and CVD prevalence in a large, highly representative sample of the U.S. adult population.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Internet-based lifestyle program improves body composition & markers of metabolic health

Metabolic syndrome involves a cluster of risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. New research confirms the effectiveness of an Internet-based lifestyle change program in supporting weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Metabolic syndrome involves a cluster of risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These factors include abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance or glucose intolerance. Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common as overweight and obesity rates have risen.

Research published in the August 2009 journal Obesity and Weight Management confirms the effectiveness of an Internet-based lifestyle change program in supporting weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Sixty individuals with metabolic syndrome were studied before, during, and after a 12-week online lifestyle intervention program. The 12-week Healthy for Life program was delivered via the internet but involved using standard weight loss tools, including meal replacements, self-monitoring, behavioral change strategies, and low-glycemic diets.

The nutritional supplements, meal replacement shakes, and snack bars used in this study were supplied by USANA Health Sciences.

The intervention resulted in an average weight loss of 5.4%. Fasting insulin was reduced 32.3% while insulin sensitivity was increased by 31.6%. Triglycerides, total cholesterol, and blood pressure were also significantly improved. Nearly half the subjects no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome at the conclusion of the study.

The results of this study show that an Internet-based lifestyle change program can result in meaningful weight loss and improved cardiovascular health in overweight individuals with metabolic syndrome. The researchers noted that given the need for strategies to help large numbers of obese individuals achieve weight loss, these results are significant.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Higher intakes of fibre help prevent weight gain & increases in waist circumference

Newly published research shows that adults with high fibre intakes are less likely to gain weight and inches around the waist.

It is known that dietary fibre may play a role in obesity prevention. The role that different individual fibre sources play in weight change is less certain. In a recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers investigated the association of total dietary fibre, cereal fibre, and fruit and vegetable fibre with changes in weight and waist circumference.

The prospective cohort study included 89,432 European participants, aged 20–78 years, who were initially free of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Participants were followed for an average of 6.5 years. Adjustments were made for follow-up duration, dietary variables, and baseline anthropometric, demographic, and lifestyle factors.

Total fibre was inversely associated with weight and waist circumference change during the study period. For a 10 gram/day higher total fibre intake, there was an estimated 39 g/year weight loss and waist circumference decreased by 0.08 cm/year. A 10 gram/day fibre intake from cereals results in 77 g/year weight reduction and 0.10 cm/year reduction in waist circumference. Fruit and vegetable fibre was not associated with weight change but had a similar effect on waist circumference as total and cereal fibre intake.

Over a period of 6.5 years, weight gain and increases in waist circumference would be expected in typical adults. The findings of this research may support a beneficial role of higher intake of dietary fibre, especially cereal fibre, in prevention of weight and waist circumference gain.