Lose Weight For A Healthier Heart

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in​ the​ United States. According to​ the​ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,​ the​ number of​ obese Americans continues to​ rise. in​ fact,​ 30 percent of​ adults over age 20-more than 60 million people-are obese,​ which means they are 30 pounds overweight and have a​ BMI,​ or​ body mass index (a mea-sure of​ body fat),​ of​ more than 30.

Obesity is​ On the​ Rise

One of​ the​ goals of​ the​ National Institutes of​ Health is​ to​ reduce obesity among adults by more than half by the​ year 2010. However,​ current data suggests that the​ situation is​ getting worse. Due to​ rising rates of​ childhood obesity,​ life expectancy for the​ average American could decrease by two to​ five years over the​ next few decades unless major efforts are made to​ slow down the​ rising rates of​ obesity.

What's more,​ obesity is​ a​ risk factor for heart disease and other serious health complications:

• Obesity is​ a​ risk factor for type 2 diabetes,​ high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Having these disorders at​ the​ same time is​ a​ condition called the​ metabolic syndrome,​ which can lead to​ an​ increased risk for heart disease and kidney disease.

• High blood pressure,​ a​ risk factor for heart disease,​ is​ twice as​ common in​ obese adults than in​ those who are at​ a​ healthy weight.

• Obesity can also lead to​ arthritis,​ which is​ caused by stress on​ your joints.

A Likely Trigger For Heart Disease

Obesity,​ high cholesterol and high blood pressure are a​ common grouping of​ risk factors for people with heart disease. Managing all these risk factors will help reduce the​ risk of​ heart attack and stroke.

What You Can Do Today

Overweight and obesity together represent the​ number-two preventable cause of​ death in​ the​ U.S. after smoking. There are many things you can do to​ get your weight under control and to​ help manage your risk for heart disease:

• Develop a​ diet and exercise plan that you feel is​ realistic and that you can maintain.

• Talk to​ your doctor about medicines that may help control your risk factors for heart disease. if​ you are prescribed medicines,​ take them exactly as​ directed and for as​ long as​ your doctor recommends.

• Resolve to​ make this year a​ healthier one-set a​ weight-loss goal and stick with it.

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