For those with excess body weight... did you know that even a small weight loss will help lower your risk of developing diseases?
Scientific literature worldwide shows that excess body weight is clearly linked to heart disease.
People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or other lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
Here's an alarming statistic. Two thirds of North American adults over age 20 are overweight or obese.
Lose weight = reduce your risk.
A US study released in December 2008 in the journal Circulation tracked the health of 21,094 male doctors for two decades. It found that even those who were just modestly overweight had a higher risk of heart disease - and the risk grew with the amount of extra weight. The risk of heart failure increased by 180% in men who were obese (a BMI of over 30) and by 49% in men who were overweight (a BMI of 25 to 30).
Lean and active people have the lowest risk of heart disease and obese and inactive people have the highest risk.
Can you use this as a motivator?
We know it's easier said than done to lose weight - that's for sure. But here are some resources that can help.
But first...have you won the battle of the bulge? Are you having trouble winning the battle? Send us your tips and your barriers so we can share them with others.
Here are some tips:
Time for some waist management!
You may have heard recently that where you carry your extra body weight can be a predictor of heart disease. Researchers have found that people who wear their excess body weight around their middles (those with apple shape figures) are at greater risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. The key is the waist to hip ratio - the higher the ratio, the higher the risk.
Here's how to determine your waist to hip ratio:
1. Measure your waist. Measure on bare skin, just above your hipbones at the narrowest part of your waist. Keep the tape measure snug but not tight.
2. Measure your hips. Again measure on bare skin, placing the tape measure snugly (but not indenting your skin) around the widest part of your hips and derriere.
Your waist to hip ratio is waist measurement divided by hip measurement. For example, if you waist measures 30 inches divided by your hip measurement of 38, your waist to hip ratio is .79.
For women, you are said to be at risk if your ratio is greater than .85.
For men, you are at greater risk if you ratio is greater than .90.
You can't change your body type, but you can control your body weight - hence your waist to hip ratio - through a healthy diet and exercise.
Drugs can cause weight gain
Have you tried and tried to lose body weight without success? It could be that you are on a medication that contributes to the problem. For example, beta-blockers are prescribed for high blood pressure, angina, after a heart attack, and for congestive heart failure - and are associated with weight gain.
Don't discontinue any medication without talking to your doctor to determine if you are on a drug that interferes with weight loss. If so, there may be another drug you can take, you may be able to go on a lower dose, or (sorry) you may just have to concentrate on exercising more and eating less!
Source: Dr. Nieca Goldberg's Guide to Women's Health
Pack a lunch to unpack the pounds
While it's not impossible to get a heart healthy meal in restaurants and fast food courts, the reality is a lot of restaurant food is high in carbohydrates, calories, unhealthy fats (polyunsaturated), and sodium - especially fast food. Studies have linked eating at restaurants at least twice a week to a higher body mass index and a greater risk of obesity.
The key with taking a packed lunch is being able to control ingredients and portion sizes. Choose high fat, moderate protein, low carb and include some and vegetables.
Age, gender, and genes.
Not only are these the three risk factors for heart disease that you can't change, they can also have an impact on your ability to lose weight.
The younger you are, the easier it is to lose body weight. As you get older it becomes more difficult because you have less muscle mass, reduced hormones, and you may be less active. A good reason to keep your weight in check all your adult life!
Men tend to lose weight faster than women because they have greater muscle mass than women and burn more calories as a result. Good news if you're a guy.
You inherited your body type and your metabolism from your parents. While some people can eat anything they want and never seem to gain weight, others swear all they have to do is look at food and they gain body weight. You can't change your genes - but you can eat well and exercise regularly to keep yourself trim.
Once you’ve lost weight, congratulations! Be sure to reward yourself - but not with food! The next challenge is to keep it off. You CAN do that by continuing the changes you've made in your lifestyle! That's smart heart living.