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Faculty Research Team Finds Risk Categories of Metabolic Syndrome Indicative of Diabetes Risk in Latinos

A group of researchers from the Boise State College of Health Sciences and Department of Kinesiology had their manuscript, “The Relationship of Metabolic Syndrome and Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile of Latinos in the Northwest,” accepted for publication in the journal Hispanic Health Care International. Amara Channell, a nutritionist in Peru, assisted the team with translating the abstract.

Leonie Sutherland and Dawn Weiler, associate professors in the School of Nursing, Shawn Simonson, associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology, and Janet Reis, director of the College of Health Sciences Office of Research, collaborated together on the publication.

The American Diabetes Association has identified factors that place a person at risk of developing the disease, including being older than 45 years old, family history, obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and/or giving birth to a large infant. However, other risk factors can increase a person’s likelihood of developing diabetes. These risk factors, dyslipidemia, central obesity, elevated fasting glucose and high blood pressure, are commonly identified as metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of metabolic factors predictive of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. MetS has been of concern for many years and the incidence is rising worldwide.

The research team identified Latino people with no risk factors, one to two risk factors and three or more risk factors for MetS. They then correlated these to the results of the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II. They found that those Latino people who scored higher in physical activity and stress management had the lowest MetS risk scores. Since Latinos are at higher risk of developing diabetes, which is closely related to MetS, measures aimed at lowering the risk become even more important. These results suggest physical activity combined with stress management may have a positive influence for MetS prevention.

To date, no research has described categories of risk for MetS. By uncovering risk categories of MetS based on lifestyle behaviors of the Latino population, the team’s findings will help health practitioners and educators develop interventions that target specific risk categories and associated lifestyle behaviors. Since Latinos have been identified at increased risk for developing diabetes, evaluation for the presence of MetS can help clinicians implement strategies to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

Hispanic Health Care International is the official journal of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and prints abstracts in both Spanish and English.