Lift Weights, Avoid Metabolic Syndrome

By Ryan Halvorson on Jan 25, 2013

Weight training has many benefits. Warding off metabolic syndrome may be one of them, suggests a recent study.

Part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study set out to determine (1) how many adults lift weights regularly and (2) the impact of weight training on the prevalence and risk of metabolic syndrome. The findings, reported in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2012; 26 [11], 3113–17), included data on 5,618 adults aged 20 and older from 1999–2004. Here are some takeaways:

  • Among study participants, weightlifting was almost twice as common among men (11.2%) as it was among women (6.3%).
  • Non-Hispanic Whites were most likely to lift weights (9.6%); Mexican Americans were least likely (5.6%).
  • Rates of metabolic syndrome were lower among those who lifted weights (24.6%) than among those who did not (37.3%).

“These findings suggest that lifting weights may play a role in reducing the prevalence and risk of metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults,” the authors stated. “Therefore, exercise professionals should strongly encourage the activity of lifting weights among adults of all ages to promote metabolic health and [should] focus programs designed to increase the adoption of lifting weights among subgroups who report the lowest levels of lifting weights.”


Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is the publications assistant for IDEA Health & Fitness Association. He is a speaker and regular contributor to health and fitness publications and a certified personal trainer.

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