In metabolic syndrome, telemonitored exercise may improve health
The use of telemonitoring in exercise-based intervention initiatives for adults with metabolic syndrome may lead to reduced severity of the condition, according to findings published in The Lancet Public Health.
The telemonitoring intervention could be beneficial in improving mental health and work-related productivity and ability in employees with elevated risk for CVD and metabolic disease, researchers wrote.
Providing guidance and support
Sven Haufe, MSc, and colleagues investigated the effect of regular telemonitoring-supported physical activity on metabolic syndrome severity and work ability in participants from a Volkswagen factory in Germany.
“By equipping participants with a wearable activity tracker, we were able to guide and support individuals regardless of where they worked or lived,” Haufe, a researcher at the Institute of Sports Medicine at Hannover Medical School in Germany, said in a press release.
The researchers examined data from a prospective, randomized, parallel-group and assessor-masked study.
Participants in the study diagnosed with metabolic syndrome were assigned to a 6-month exercise intervention group or a waiting-list control group. Members of the exercise group received individual recommendations for exercise at the face-to-face meetings and via a smartphone application, with a weekly goal of 150 minutes of physical activity.
Activity was supervised and adapted using activity-monitor data transferred to a central database, Haufe and colleagues wrote.
Participants in the control group continued current lifestyle and received information about the possibility of obtaining the supervised intervention after the completion of the study, the researchers wrote.
The primary outcome was the change in metabolic syndrome severity, or mean metabolic syndrome z score, after 6 months in the intention-to-treat population, Haufe and colleagues wrote.
Of the 314 participants (mean age, 48 years; 14% women) who met inclusion criteria, 160 were stratified into the exercise group.
After the intervention period, the exercise group had a significant reduction in the mean metabolic syndrome z score compared with the control group (intervention group, from 0.93 to 0.63; control group, from 0.95 to 0.9; difference between groups = –0.26; 95% CI, –0.35 to – 0.16), Haufe and colleagues wrote.
During the evaluation, the researchers documented 11 adverse events in the exercise group; one (a sprained ankle) was directly associated with the intervention.
The results indicate “the potential benefit of personalized and telemonitoring-supported activity programs and the need for further investigation on the links between exercise-induced health effects and socioeconomic benefits for an aging workforce,” Haufe and colleagues wrote.
“Offering similar programs to the broader workforce could ease the health care burden and economic costs arising from metabolic syndrome conditions that already affect 1 in 4 adults worldwide,” Haufe said in the release.
‘Not an all-purpose solution’
In a related editorial, Alex Burdorf, PhD, and Suzan Robroek, PhD, of the department of public health at Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, wrote: “Given the intervention’s moderate benefits after 6 months, it is not an all-purpose solution to address health-related loss of work ability. Further improvements in health behaviors and outcome measures are required to create a healthy workforce.” – by Earl Holland Jr.
Disclosures: The authors and editorial writers report no relevant financial disclosures.