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 Weight and Heart Disease

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Excess weight and obesity are risk factors that contribute to heart disease. Obesity places you at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes. These factors heighten your risk of heart disease. Controlling your weight can help lower your risk of heart disease.

What Is Obesity?

Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity can be determined based on three key measurements, according to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI):

  • Body mass index (BMI) – BMI is your weight relative to your height, including considerations such as amount of bone, muscle and fat in your body's composition. If your BMI calculation is 25.0 or higher, you are considered overweight (a BMI over 30 is considered obese). A BMI of 40 or greater is considered morbidly obese and weight loss surgery may be an option. Click here to calculate your BMI.
  • Waist circumference – Your waist circumference indicates abdominal fat. A waist circumference over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women increases your risk of developing diabetes, the metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
  • Risk factors – People with two or more risk factors for heart disease are at even higher risk for heart disease, when combined with a high BMI and/or large waist circumference.

Healthy Tips for Losing Weight

Successful weight loss requires a long-term weight management program that is realistic, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Obesity Education Initiative. To help lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight, consider the following:

  • Set realistic goals
  • Set short-term goals that lead to long-term goals
  • Reward yourself
  • Monitor yourself
  • Avoid situations that cause you to overeat
  • Eat slower
 

Learn more about the Weight Management Program at Ohio State's Center for Wellness and Prevention.