In addition, obesity and other key risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome are on the rise in youth; more than 70 percent of teens in the study had at least one of the five risk factors used to assess metabolic syndrome: high blood pressure, high levels of sugar and fat in the blood, low levels of good cholesterol and a large waistline (a person having three or more of the factors are classified as having the syndrome).
"One of the takeaways is that our study reinforced the current dietary recommendations for dietary fiber intake by including a variety of plant-based foods," Carlson said. "A strategy of emphasizing fiber-rich foods may improve adherence to dietary recommendations."
The next step, he said, is to figure out the best methods to boost dietary fiber intakes to levels that will improve or sustain a desirable cardiovascular risk factor status. For example, if a person daily has three servings of fruit and vegetables (12 grams of fiber), one serving of beans (seven grams), and three servings of whole grain, they will be at about 30 grams of dietary fiber.
"The trick is getting people in the groove finding the foods that they both enjoy and are convenient," Carlson said.
As part of the cross-sectional study, Carlson and his team focused on data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey done from 1999-2002. They analyzed the diets of more than 2,100 boys and girls ages 12 to 19, looking at whether the teens had three or more conditions that make up metabolic syndrome.
The study found there was a three-fold increase in the number of children that had metabolic syndrome when the group of children receiving the least fiber was compared with the group receiving the most. There was not a significant relationship with either saturated fat or cholesterol intake.
|Contact: Jason Cody|
Michigan State University