What is it about?

Metabolic syndrome is a health condition that is associated with various health problems and is a major contributor to illness and death globally, particularly in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. In Southeast Asia, this condition is becoming more prevalent, and as a result, many intervention programs have been implemented. This study reviewed 13 recent articles on interventions for managing metabolic syndrome in four Southeast Asian countries: Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The interventions were divided into four categories: nutrition, physical activity, nutrition and physical activity, and multi-intervention. The studies looked at the impact of these interventions on various components of metabolic syndrome. The findings suggest that there is still limited evidence on the effectiveness of interventions for managing metabolic syndrome in Southeast Asia. Further studies, particularly on the effects of dietary interventions, are necessary to address gaps in knowledge and design appropriate interventions for the region's populations.

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Why is it important?

As far as we know, this is the first study to collect and examine interventions for metabolic syndrome that were specifically carried out on people in Southeast Asia, and to look at how these interventions affected both MetS and other related health issues. Our review has a few strengths, mainly in making sure that recent evidence is available for researchers and medical professionals to review. We tried to include all relevant articles by not setting any limitations on the types of interventions or how MetS was defined. We even searched through the bibliographies of retrieved articles by hand to find additional relevant studies. We only included studies that involved human interventions to ensure that the evidence we used was of high quality and applicable in clinical practice.


This study is a great reminder that we need to look at health issues in a more holistic way and keep researching to find better ways to address them. Sometimes, we focus too much on finding very specific solutions for health problems without looking at the bigger picture. It's important to take a step back and think about how all the different factors in a person's life might be affecting their health. By doing this, we can come up with more effective ways to help people stay healthy and prevent health issues from happening in the first place!

Amutha Ramadas
Monash University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Nutritional and lifestyle intervention strategies for metabolic syndrome in Southeast Asia: A scoping review of recent evidence, PLoS ONE, September 2021, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257433.
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