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Association Between Lifting Weights and Metabolic Syndrome among U.S. Adults: 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Magyari, Peter M.; Churilla, James R.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 11 - p 3113–3117
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182472f95
Original Research

Magyari, PM and Churilla, JR. Association between lifting weights and metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults: 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Strength Cond Res 26(11): 3113–3117, 2012—The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to determine the proportion of U.S. adults who participate in the resistance exercise modality of lifting weights (LWs) by demographic characteristics and to investigate the impact of LWs on the prevalence and risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in a national representative sample of U.S. adults. The sample (n = 5,618) in this cross-sectional study included adults aged ≥20 years who participated in the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Approximately twice as many men (11.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 9.5, 13.1) reported LWs as women did (6.3%; 95% CI 5.2, 7.6) with non-Hispanic Whites (9.6%; 95% CI 8.1, 11.4) reporting the highest levels and Mexican Americans reporting the lowest levels (5.6%; 95% CI 4.4, 7.2) of engaging in LWs. Additionally, higher levels of socioeconomic status were associated with greater levels of self-reported LWs. MetS prevalence was found to be significantly lower among U.S. adults reporting LWs (24.6%; 95% CI 19.3, 30.9) compared with adults not reporting LWs (37.3%; 95% CI 35.5, 39.2) with associated risk reductions of 58% (p < 0.001) and 37% (p < 0.01) in the unadjusted model and model adjusted for demographic variables, respectively. These findings suggest that LWs may play a role in reducing the prevalence and risk of MetS among U.S. adults. Therefore, exercise professionals should strongly encourage the activity of LWs among adults of all ages to promote metabolic health and focus programs designed to increase the adoption of LWs among the subgroups who report the lowest levels of LWs.

Department of Clinical and Applied Movement Sciences, Brooks College of Health University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

Address correspondence to Peter M. Magyari,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.