It is widely known that people who are overweight are at risk for heart disease. A person who is 20 percent or more over their ideal weight is considered overweight.
For example, a short, small-boned woman whose ideal weight is 110 pounds would be considered overweight at 132 pounds. Her heart will work harder to pump blood to those extra 22 pounds.
Overweight people are likely to be more sedentary than their slimmer peers. Being overweight makes it harder for people to remain active-they may feel self-conscious when they exercise, or they may become tired, out-of-breath or discouraged by their exertions. An overweight person is more likely to be sedentary, and a sedentary person is more likely to be overweight. Both overweight and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to heart disease.
But the solution to an overweight problem is not just cutting calories out of the diet. Studies now show that weight-loss diets that simply restrict calories are rarely successful in the long run. Instead, consider a balanced, healthy eating plan that’s very low in fat and cholesterol and high in complex carbohydrates. A diet like this emphasizes whole grains, vegetables and fruits and includes moderate amounts of protein rich foods such as lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, tofu, dried peas, beans and lentils and nonfat dairy products.
In addition to the low fat diet, start a program of moderate aerobic exercise, such as a daily 30-minute walk, or an hour-long walk every other day.
An overweight person is more likely to be sedentary, and a sedentary person is more likely to be overweight. Both overweight and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to heart disease.
To learn more about how being overweight affects your personal risk for heart disease, talk to your healthcare provider. Ask your healthcare provider to help you plan a diet and exercise program for reducing your risk.