Obesity Significantly Raises Risk of Heart Disease
Do you need to lose a few pounds?
Let’s be truthful, if you have too much fat on your body, especially around your waist area, you’re at a much higher risk for health problems. That’s a scary thought!
This is why maintaining a healthy weight is so vitally important.
Thankfully though, some of the damage can be reversed by eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical activity. So, it’s never too late to begin getting healthier!
Being overweight or obese is linked to an increased risk for heart problems. Some of the reasons for this include:
- Higher blood cholesterol (especially triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol) when you are overweight or obese.
- Lower HDL cholesterol when you are overweight or obese.
- Higher blood pressure levels when you are overweight or obese.
- And, obesity may induce diabetes, which is in turn a risk factor for heart disease.
So, are you at increased risk?
To determine if your current weight is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, two measurements can be used used:
1. Waist Circumference:
If your waistline is 35 inches or higher for women, and 40 inches or higher for men, you are at an increased risk.
Obviously you should aim for the "ideal" BMI range. BMI is calculated by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing by height in meters squared (kg/m2):
If your BMI is less than 18.4 you are underweight for your height
If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 you’re an ideal weight for your height
If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9 you’re over the ideal weight for your height
If your BMI is between 30 and 39.9 you are obese
If your BMI is over 40 you are very obese
What should you do next?
If you are overweight or obese, it's good to remember that even a small decrease in weight can go a long way to reducing your risk for heart disease. Once you lose a little weight it will help take some of the strain off your heart, and as a result lower your risk for heart problems.
If you feel you don’t know where to begin, I would suggest making an appointment with a registered dietitian, who can help create a nutrition plan specific to your individual needs. Yo-yo dieting is not a good idea, and this is why you should get help from a professional.
Perhaps joining a weight loss group would also be helpful to provide you with additional support. And, you should also try to add more physical activity to your daily life.
Remember, although losing weight and keeping it off can seem like a major challenge, you can do it! Stick with it, and enjoy the good health you experience as a result of a healthier lifestyle.