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Physical activity patterns and its influence on risk factors for metabolic syndrome among an urban working population

Shashikala Narayanappa, Renuka Manjunath, Praveen Kulkarni.


Background: Physical activity is a fundamental means of improving the physical and mental health of individuals, its beneficial effect on the metabolic risk factors such as obesity, weight, lipid profile, blood glucose, and blood pressure has been well established. There is a change in pattern of physical activity in India, which has nearly made 50%–80% of Indians physically inactive, predisposing them to obesity and metabolic risk factors, which increases the risk of NCDs and its consequences.

Objective: To study the pattern of physical activity, estimating the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and risk factors and to assess the effect of physical activity on metabolic syndrome and its risk factors.

Materials and Methods: It was a cross-sectional study among 320 secondary school teachers of Mysore City. A self-administered, pretested, and structured questionnaire based on the WHO Steps Approach for noncommunicable disease risk factors and physical activity was evaluated using GPAQ questionnaire.

Result: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 38.3% and physical inactivity was 67.7%. Those who were physically less active had three times risk of developing MS (OR = 3.25). The proportion of physical inactivity was inversely proportional to the risk factors for metabolic syndrome such as body mass index, obesity, hypertension, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Conclusion: The high levels of metabolic risk factors in the urban population, working population, and younger age group especially the modifiable risk factors (obesity and physical inactivity), which are preventable and hence if targeted (regular, moderate physical activity) will be a very cost-effective way of improving and maintaining the health and help in having healthy workforce. The work places interventions can be an effective intervention.

Key words: Physical activity, risk factors, metabolic syndrome, NCDs, sedentary

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