The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Study examines the impact of fitness and alcohol intake on metabolic syndrome

Fitter individuals are at lower cardiometabolic risk, however, the effects of alcohol intake on cardiometabolic risk are mixed.
DALLAS (December 11, 2012) – A study from The Cooper Institute in collaboration with the University of Texas (UT) School of Public Health shows that higher fitness levels consistently reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The same study showed the effects of alcohol intake on cardiometabolic risk are mixed.
The study published in the November issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise followed 3,411 apparently healthy men who completed at least two preventive visits at The Cooper Clinic™ between 1979 – 2010.  Results revealed that moderate levels of fitness reduced the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 40 percent while high levels of fitness reduced the risk by 51 percent. Light drinking was linked to a 66 percent increase in metabolic syndrome risk.
“Our research shows that higher fitness levels consistently reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and physicians and other health professionals should continue to encourage habitual physical activity,” says Carolyn Barlow of The Cooper Institute “However the effects of alcohol intake on metabolic risk in this study are not as clear cut. We found that while low levels of alcohol intake protected against increased glucose and blood pressure levels, higher alcohol intake was linked to higher HDL levels. These nuances were not reflected when examining the association between alcohol intake and metabolic syndrome as a whole.”
Kerem Shuval, PhD, a member of The Cooper Institute and UT Southwestern Physical Activity/Physical Fitness Working Group, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health, and a member of the Simmons Cancer Center at UT Southwestern, is the first author on the study. Other authors include Carrie Finley of The Cooper Institute, and Drs. Karen Chartier, Bijal Balasubramanian, and Kelley Pettee Gabriel of the University of Texas School of Public Health.
About The Cooper Institute
Established in 1970 by Kenneth K. Cooper, MD, MPH, The Cooper Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated worldwide to preventive medicine research and education, housing one of the world’s largest databases on exercise and health. Each year The Cooper Institute develops engaged learners in fitness and health with its courses and national accredited Personal Trainer Certification exam. The Cooper Institute offers web-based tools for schools to track and report on youth fitness and nutrition: FitnessGram® and NutriGram®. For more information, visit
About The University of Texas School of Public Health
The University of Texas School of Public Health’s (UTSPH) mission is to improve and sustain the health of people by providing the highest quality graduate education, research and community service for Texas, the nation, and the world; to provide quality graduate education in the basic disciplines and practices of public health; to extend the evidence base within those disciplines; and to assist public health practitioners, locally, nationally, and internationally, in solving public health problems. For more information, go to
About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center, one of the premier medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has many distinguished members, including five who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. Numbering more than 2,600, the faculty is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to more than 100,000 hospitalizes patients and oversee nearly 2 million outpatient visits a year. For more information, visit