Obesity and Heart Disease
There is a strong correlation between heart disease and obesity. The more overweight a person is, the more likely he or she is to develop heart disease. Obesity also contributes to several risk factors for the condition, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. You can determine if you are overweight by calculating your body mass index and waist circumference.
Being overweight or obese (extremely overweight) has become all too common in the United States. Today, nearly two-thirds of American adults (about 130 million people) are overweight or obese.
Even more concerning is that approximately 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight, compared to just 4 percent a few decades ago, and another 15 percent are at risk for being overweight. Childhood obesity is also a growing concern. An alarming number of children are obese and developing diseases normally seen in adulthood. Overweight adolescents have a greatly increased risk of dying from heart disease in adulthood. Even our youngest citizens are at risk. About 10 percent of preschoolers weigh more than is healthy for them.
There is growing evidence of a link between "couch potato" behavior and increased risk of obesity and many chronic diseases. People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing many medical conditions, including:
- High blood pressure (also known as hypertension)
- High cholesterol (also known as hypercholesterolemia)
- Congestive heart failure
- Gallbladder disease
- Breathing problems
- Sleep apnea
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Uterine cancer (endometrial cancer).
The good news: Even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk of developing those diseases.