Lifestyle modification in the management of the metabolic syndrome: achievements and challenges
Riccardo Dalle Grave1, Simona Calugi1, Elena Centis2, Rebecca Marzocchi2, Marwan El Ghoch1, Giulio Marchesini2
1Department of Eating & Weight Disorder, Villa Garda Hospital, Garda (VR), Italy; 2Unit of Metabolic Diseases & Clinical Dietetics, Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Abstract: Lifestyle modification based on behavior therapy is the most important and effective strategy to manage the metabolic syndrome. Modern lifestyle modification therapy combines specific recommendations on diet and exercise with behavioral and cognitive strategies. The intervention may be delivered face-to-face or in groups, or in groups combined with individual sessions. The main challenge of treatment is helping patients maintain healthy behavior changes in the long term. In the last few years, several strategies have been evaluated to improve the long-term effect of lifestyle modification. Promising results have been achieved by combining lifestyle modification with pharmacotherapy, using meals replacement, setting higher physical activity goals, and long-term care. The key role of cognitive processes in the success/failure of weight loss and maintenance suggests that new cognitive procedures and strategies should be included in the traditional lifestyle modification interventions, in order to help patients build a mind-set favoring long-term lifestyle changes. These new strategies raise optimistic expectations for an effective treatment of metabolic syndrome with lifestyle modifications, provided public health programs to change the environment where patients live support them.
Keywords: metabolic syndrome, obesity, lifestyle modification, cognitive behavior therapy