Background: To evaluate the effect of lifestyle modifications on metabolic syndrome (MetS) as assessed by its resolution and improved values for its components.
Methods: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis. Searches were performed of MEDLINE and the Cochrane Database from January 1966 to October 2011 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) related to the study objective. The included studies were RCTs restricted to the English language, with a follow-up period of 6 months or more, which reported overall resolution of MetS or values of MetS components (fasting blood glucose, waist circumference, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), triglycerides, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP)). Two investigators independently assessed study eligibility. The effect sizes were the relative proportion of patients with resolved MetS and mean differences in MetS component values from baseline to 1-year follow-up in a lifestyle-modification intervention (LMI) group versus a control (conventional lifestyle education or no treatment) group. Meta-analyses were conducted using a random-effects model.
Results: Eleven interventions in eight RCTs were used for the meta-analyses. The relative proportion of patients with resolved MetS in the intervention group was approximately 2.0 (95% CI 1.5 to 2.7) times greater in the intervention group compared with the control group (7 interventions, n = 2.839). LMI (5 interventions, n = 748) significantly reduced mean values for SBP by -6.4 mmHg (95% CI -9.7 to -3.2), DBP by -3.3 mmHg (95% CI -5.2 to -1.4), triglycerides by -12.0 mg/dl (95% CI -22.2 to -1.7), waist circumference by -2.7 cm (95% CI -4.6 to -0.9), and fasting blood glucose by -11.5 mg/dl (95% CI -22.4 to -0.6) (5 interventions), but reductions were not significant for HDL (1.3 mg/dl; 95% CI -0.6 to 3.1).
Conclusions: The LMI was effective in resolving MetS and reducing the severity of related abnormalities (fasting blood glucose, waist circumference, SBP and DBP, and triglycerides) in subjects with MetS.