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Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is an independent risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. 1 Even being moderately overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2) can double your risk of having a heart attack compared to being lean (BMI ≤ 24 kg/m2). 2 Obesity doesn’t discriminate – no matter your age, race, gender or financial, income if you consume more calories than you expend on a continuous basis you put yourself at risk for developing obesity. 3

The dangers of being overweight or obese include:

  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke 3
  • Higher risk of having high blood pressure 1
  • Increased risk of developing diabetes 1
  • Greater risk of musculoskeletal problems 1
  • Higher risk of developing certain cancers 3

Definition of overweight and obesity

The World Health Organisation definition for overweight and obesity in adults is: 3

  • Overweight = BMI* 25-29,9 kg/m2
  • Obesity = BMI* ³ 30 kg/m2

* Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in metres (kg/m2). It provides the most useful population-level measure as it is the same for both sexes and all ages of adults. However, it is a rough guide as it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals.

Simple measures to start losing weight

  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • Remove unhealthy snacks from your house
  • Try to get at least 6-8 hours sleep a night
  • Eat off a smaller plate
  • Do 3 x 10 minutes of moderate exercise a day on 5 days of the week
  • Mindful eating – chew your food at least 30 times before swallowing. Savour the taste and texture of each mouthful!
  • Don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach
  • Eat your last meal of the day at least 2 hours before bedtime

References: 1. World Heart Federation. Diet, overweight and obesity. [Online] 2011 [cited 2018 Jan 19]. Available from: URL: https://www.world-heart-federation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Diet_overweight_and_obesity-2.pdf. 2. Roeters van Lennep JE, Westerveld HT, Erkelens DW, van der Wall EE. Risk factors for coronary heart disease: implications of gender. Cardiovasc Res 2002;53:538-549. 3. World Health Organization. Obesity and overweight. [Online] [cited 2018 Jan 11]. Available from: URL: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/.

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