Publication Date



metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, women, weight loss intervention, multidisciplinary team



Metabolic syndrome is a set of metabolic risk factors associated with increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. We retrospectively evaluated the effectiveness of a lifestyle modification program (Heart WATCH) geared toward reducing development of chronic disease in women deemed at risk for metabolic syndrome, prediabetes and/or cardiovascular disease.


Our institution’s Heart WATCH program consists of screening sessions with a multidisciplinary team (physician/nurse, nutritionist and psychologist), a minimum of three visits with a nurse practitioner and weekly follow-up phone calls for a 14-week period. Sociodemographic variables were obtained at initial visit. Biometric testing indices and self-reported clinical and behavioral health measures were recorded pre- and postintervention, and compared using paired t-tests or McNemar’s test as appropriate.


Heart WATCH enrolled 242 women from November 2006 to April 2014, and 193 (80%) completed all phases of the 14-week lifestyle intervention. Postintervention, participants demonstrated improved health status in all areas and improved significantly in the following areas: diet/nutrition (P=0.014), exercise (P<0.001), stress (P<0.0001), quality of life (P=0.003), weight (P<0.0001), waist circumference (P=0.01) and total cholesterol (P=0.019). Clinically meaningful improvements were realized by participants who moved to a healthier classification in a number of vital signs and blood panel indices.


These findings suggest the “elevated risk profile” for women with components of metabolic syndrome can be reversed through a lifestyle program focused on reducing risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and prediabetes. Future research is needed to determine mechanisms of risk reduction as well as optimal patient-centered and culturally appropriate approaches to weight management.