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Heart Healthy Lifestyle Changes that Make a Difference in Obesity

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Obesity related image Photo: Getty Images

Pleasingly plump….carrying a little extra baby fat….full figured….big boned…a little on the heavy side…chubby…curvy…voluptuous...statuesque.

It doesn’t matter how you “pretty it up” or what you call it, at the end of the day all those extra pounds add up to the same thing – unwanted (and unhealthy) fat.

Unhealthy levels of fat may affect your quality of life, self-image, and your overall health. The list of diseases that obesity contributes to reads like a laundry list of side effects from one of those pharmaceutical ads. That extra “baby fat” you didn’t lose or the "holiday 5" you kept each year for the last 10 years may lead to the development of some pretty serious and potentially life threatening diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, certain cancers (uterine, cervical, breast, colon, and ovarian, for example), high blood cholesterol, infertility or menstrual irregularities, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, skin problems, and heart disease.

In this writer’s personal opinion, when it comes to risk factors for heart disease, the leader of the pack has to be obesity. Not only is obesity an independent risk factor for heart disease, but it delivers a double-blow to your heart health because it leads to the development of other heart disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.

Heart disease is an equal opportunity killer. It kills regardless of age, race, or gender so it pays to know your risk factors and take action to eliminate them from your life. Obesity is no different and it’s to your advantage to know when those extra pounds go from being merely pleasingly plump to a potentially serious health condition. One tool used by physicians to determine healthy weight is the body-mass-index, or BMI, calculation. This is a simple calculation based on your height and weight. If your BMI is over 30, you’re considered obese. But, anyone with a BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight. If you’ve never calculated your BMI, or haven’t done so recently, consider doing so. The results may surprise you.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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