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How Losing Weight Helps Your Heart. Are You Actually Overweight?

Posted Jan 05 2013 12:44am

The first big JAMA study of the new year (Happy New Year!) implied that you can be overweight or barely obese, and not die early because of it.

In between the lines: yes….in that population. Why?

Because they get medical care right away!. Because they get sicker sooner! Because their pre-diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol gets screened for and picked up and treated!   And because being sick–like with cancer, immune disease, and heart disease–can make you less fat, because you feel sick!

Plus, looked at internationally (as this study did), people of lower weight were often malnourished and sickly, and in some cases, starving.

So much for “spinning the data.”

Here is what you need to know about who is actually overweight, and why weight loss treats heart disease.

74% of men and 68% of women in the U.S are overweight or obese, and the rest of the world is rapidly catching up.  Most men and women don’t know where they fall. You can measure your body mass index (BMI),  measure your kid’s BMI , or just look below: for both men and women:

If you’re 5-foot-10-inches, normal is 132 -167 pounds; an overweight is 172- 202 pounds, obese is 209- 236 pounds; severely obese starts at 243; morbidly obese starts at 278.

If you’re 5-foot-5-inches, normal 114-144; overweight 150-174; obese is 180-204; severely obese starts at 210; morbidly obese starts at 240.

Weight loss helps your heart because it lowers your blood pressure and your blood lipids including triglycerides and LDL cholesterol; it helps you metabolize sugar more efficiently; it improves insulin sensitivity; and it reduces inflammation. And inflammation probably causes heart disease.  

Not to mention makes it easier for the heart to pump blood where it needs to go!

No one said it was easy to lose weight and keep it off: crappy, cheap, alluring high-calorie low-nutrient foods are everywhere. Produce is not as cheap or accessible as highly processed food. People often don’t have sit down meals, and motivation is a very weak leg on which to stand.  What you need is a plan, accountability, self-monitoring and the right foods for you .

 

 
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