The impact of structured exercise programs on metabolic syndrome and its components: A systematic review

Academic Article


  • Background: The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is highly prevalent and associated with higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular events. Exercise programs have been shown to improve components of MetS, but the optimal design of a structured exercise program for treatment of the MetS remains unclear. Purpose: To assess the impact of different exercise programs on the MetS and its components. Methods: MEDLINE via PubMed and Embase was searched. Randomized controlled trials of supervised exercise alone and in combination with nutrition programs compared with usual care in adults with the MetS were selected. Two authors independently reviewed articles to select eligible studies and performed data abstraction. Eight studies representing 1218 patients were included. The participants had a median age of 51, median BMI of 29 kg/m2, and were 55% male. Mean weight loss increased with program duration. For combination programs, the mean weight loss was −2.6 kg, −3.7 kg, and −6.5 kg for 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. The components of the MetS most frequently statistically significantly improved were waist circumference (6/6 studies), blood pressure (4/6 studies), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (3/6 studies). Limitations: Studies did not include long-term follow-up post program completion to evaluate persistence of benefit. It is unknown whether the same results would be found in an older, more obese population. Conclusion: Supervised exercise programs yield significant resolution of components of the MetS, particularly in reducing waist circumference. Longer program duration and frequent interval sessions appear to have highest benefit and thus may help reduce cardiovascular risk and diabetes associated with the MetS.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 20859362
  • Author List

  • Joseph MS; Tincopa MA; Walden P; Jackson E; Conte ML; Rubenfire M
  • Start Page

  • 2395
  • End Page

  • 2404
  • Volume

  • 12