Obesity is becoming a global epidemic in both children and adults. It is associated with numerous health risks that increase one's risk for cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease and stroke).
Obesity and being overweight are also linked to hypertension and increased risk for heart failure.
In addition, being overweight and obese can be related to some cancers, gallbladder disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.
To determine if your weight is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, two measurements are used:
- Body mass index (BMI) – those who are overweight (BMI 25.0–29.9) or obese (BMI 30.0 and above) have a higher risk of developing CVD.
- Waist circumference – the risk increases with a waist measurement of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women.
Weight loss can do wonders for your cardiovascular health. It can also help you avoid the conditions most commonly associated with being overweight, which tend to increase your risk for heart disease.
However, losing weight too rapidly can be dangerous. When you get impatient and try to drop weight too quickly, you can rob your body of essential nutrients it needs to function. Some liquid diets and those that limit calorie intake to the point of starvation are extremely dangerous. Poor nutrition can lead to many health conditions, including arrhythmia, loss of heart muscle mass, and ultimately heart damage.
These negative effects of weight loss can be prevented with a balanced diet and appropriate exercise routine.
- Eat a wide variety of foods that are not processed and high in sodium or trans fats.
- Choose fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- Learn how to read nutrition labels when you shop for foods.
- Look for high levels of fiber and low levels of fat, sugar, and processed carbohydrates.
- Cook at home whenever possible to ensure the healthiest possible meal plan.