Heart Health (p.40)
The Connection Between Weight And Heart Disease
By Teri DeMatas
Last year, a large study was released showing a direct link between a high body-mass index and the risk of developing heart disease. The study analyzed data from more than 75,000 people and found that those with a high BMI had a 26% increased risk of developing heart disease. Further analysis using genetic and other data showed that a BMI increase of four points increases the risk of heart disease by no less than 52%.
Body-mass index (BMI) is a measurement based on one’s height and weight. People with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 are in the normal weight range, while those with a BMI of 30 or more are obese. Those in between are deemed overweight.
To calculate your BMI, take your weight (pounds) and divide it by your height (inches). Take the result of that calculation and divide it by your height again. Then, multiply that number by 703 and round to the second decimal place. An example of calculating body mass index using the BMI formula would be: Weight = 150 pounds, Height = 5’5” (65 inches), resulting in a BMI calculation of [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96.
There are several ways you can go about reducing your BMI if it’s above normal – thus likely reducing your risk for developing heart disease.
One option is to join a gym or health club, preferably one that is medically supervised, or begin an exercise regimen at home. Doing cardio exercises using fitness equipment regularly will help burn calories and fat. Strength training – using machines, free weights, medicine balls, and other equipment – will build lean muscle mass which, in addition to helping the pounds drop off, will tone and sculpt your body.
Another option is to meet with a registered dietitian for a one-on-one session to discuss your specific nutritional needs and concerns. If you are ready to take steps to improve your diet and nutritional habits, he or she can develop an individualized plan for you that takes into account any medical conditions, activity level, and personal preferences, allowing you to make informed, practical changes. By utilizing the services of a professional nutritionist, you will be able to form healthy habits that will ultimately help you look and feel better.
Weight loss surgery may also be a solution. Bariatric surgeons perform several types of weight loss surgery such as laparoscopic gastric banding and gastric bypass surgery, many of which can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Whatever route you choose, just remember that a good diet and regular exercise regimen will result in a normal BMI, significantly reducing your risk for heart disease – so get moving, eat well, and get healthy!
Information about many health and wellness programs are available at rexhealth.com. Take the first step toward a healthier you and find out how you can drop the pounds and reduce your risk for heart disease.
Teri DeMatas is the director of marketing for Rex Healthcare.