Evaluating metabolic syndrome in a medical physiology laboratory

Bruce Martin, John B. Watkins, J. W. Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The metabolic syndrome, a cluster of factors linked to obesity that contribute to risk for atherosclerosis and Type 2 diabetes, may affect 20-25% of the adults in the United States. We designed a medical physiology laboratory to evaluate and discuss the physiological and nutritional principles involved in the metabolic syndrome. The five criteria used to diagnose this syndrome (fasting blood triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and glucose, blood pressure, central obesity) were measured by students on each other either previously or during this exercise. In addition, to illustrate nutritional factors involved in causation and treatment of the metabolic syndrome, a meal was provided during the laboratory. Class members were randomized to groups allowed ad libitum meal composition, or constrained to the National Cholesterol Education Program Step I or Step II diets. The composition of the diet (including saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, and carbohydrate content) was discussed in the context of blood cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose levels. This laboratory allows a comprehensive analysis of the physiological and nutritional factors involved in the development of the metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-198
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Cholesterol
  • Electrolytes
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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