A healthy weight is crucial for a long, healthy life. In 1999, almost 108 million-or 61 percent of-adults in the United States were overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart attack. And, it increases your risk of developing high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes-each of which also increases your chance of having a heart attack. If you are overweight, even a small weight loss-just 10 percent of your current weight-will help to lower your risk of developing those diseases.
Two of the measures that assess whether or not a person is overweight are body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. BMI is a measure of weight relative to height. To check your BMI, choose this online calculator. Waist circumference measures abdominal fat. The risk for developing heart and other diseases increases with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches in men and more than 35 inches in women.
To be at their best, adults need to avoid gaining weight and many need to lose weight. Losing weight and keeping it off depends on a change of lifestyle that combines sensible eating with regular physical activity, not a temporary effort to drop pounds quickly. If you need to lose excess weight, talk with your health care provider about developing an action plan, which includes a hearty-healthy, low-calorie, nutritious eating plan and physical activity.