Weight and Coronary Heart Disease

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coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease, or CHD, is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that provide blood and oxygen to the heart, which can lead to a heart attack. Diabetes, high blood pressure and high LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels are among the more common risk factors for CHD. You may reduce your chances of developing CHD by not smoking, eating a healthy low-fat diet that includes vegetables and fruits, getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week and maintaining a healthy weight.

Obesity, especially abdominal obesity, can also place you at a greater risk of developing CHD, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In fact, obesity is recognized by both the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health as a major modifiable risk factor for CHD.

Obesity is a Widespread Problem

One in three Americans is obese, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Obesity is defined by the American Heart Association as having too much body fat. You become overweight and obese by consuming more calories than you burn. As you get older, weight gain is usually caused by increased fat rather than bigger muscles, notes the Mayo Clinic.

Dangers of Abdominal Fat and CHD

Your body consists of water, protein, carbohydrates, several vitamins, minerals and fat, according to the American Heart Association. When you have a surplus of fat, especially around the midsection, you place yourself at a higher risk for an assortment of medical problems, including heart disease. Carrying around excess abdominal weight increases cholesterol levels, plaque formation, and irritate the arteries, reports the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Determining Your Amount of Body Fat

One method for gauging your percentage of body fat is by measuring your body mass index, or BMI. Your BMI takes into account your height and weight to determine whether your percentage of body fat is healthy or unhealthy, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703. You divide that number by your height in inches, and then divide the result by height in inches. For example, a man who weighs 205 lbs., and stands 6 feet, or 72 inches, tall would have a BMI of nearly 28.

Interpreting Your BMI Numbers

BMI values from 18.5 to 24.9 are considered to be normal, according to the AHA. A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is regarded as overweight. Obesity is defined by the AHA as having a BMI of 30.0 or greater, or being about 30 pounds or more overweight.

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