Article by Nicole Raebel, Live Well Winona Intern
During the month of February, the American Heart Association focuses their efforts on raising awareness of heart disease and its prevention. Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases affect a large amount of of Americans, causing 2,150 deaths every day.
Sustaining excess weight increases the heart’s work. It raises blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels which can also increase one’s risk of developing diabetes.
One of the American Heart Association’s recommendations to reduce the risk of heart disease is to maintain a healthy weight. Benefits of a healthy weight go beyond just having an increased amount of energy and looser clothes. Other benefits include:
- Fewer joint and muscle pains
- Greater ability to join in desired activities
- Better regulation of bodily fluids and blood pressure
- Reduced burden on your heart and circulatory system
- Better sleep patterns
- More effective metabolism of sugars and carbohydrates
- Reduced risk for heart disease and certain cancers
Your personal Body Mass Index (BMI) is one great indication of whether or not you are sustaining a healthy weight.
A BMI is a numerical value of your weight in relation to your height. A BMI of less than 25 kg/m² indicates a healthy weight. A BMI of less than 18.5 kg/m² is considered underweight. A BMI between 25 kg/m² and 29.9 kg/m² is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 kg/m² or higher indicates obesity.
It’s important to remember that reaching a healthy BMI is a difficult thing to achieve. Maintaining a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and moderate workouts weekly is a strong way to stay on the road to good health. For more information, visit the American Heart Association’s webpage and use the free BMI Calculator for Adults. Also, check out the Mayo Clinic’s recent article regarding heart disease and obesity prevention. Happy Heart Month!