Should I Lose Weight?

You should lose weight when your BMI is between 25 and 29.9 and you have additional risk factors for heart disease, or if you are obese. Even losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight can lower your risk for serious conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. The best way to lose weight is to do so gradually, with regular exercise and a balanced diet.

When Should I Lose Weight?

An indirect measure of weight status is known as the body mass index, or BMI for short (see BMI Calculator to find your BMI). Healthcare providers routinely use this measurement to determine whether a person should lose weight. They also consider several other factors, such as risk factors for heart disease and waist circumference.
 
Here are some guidelines that your healthcare provider may consider when recommending weight loss in your particular situation:
 
  • If you are overweight, which means your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, and you have two or more other risk factors for heart disease, or if you are obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30), you should lose weight. Besides obesity (see Obesity and Heart Disease), risk factors for heart disease include:
     
    • Age (being a man 45 years old or older, or a woman 55 years old or older)
     
    • Being male
     
     
     
     
     
     
    • Having close relatives with heart disease at younger ages (heart disease diagnosed before age 55 in a father or brother, or before age 65 in a mother or sister)
     
    • If you are overweight, have a high waist measurement (over 35 inches for a woman; over 40 inches for a man), and have two or more other risk factors for heart disease, you should lose weight
     
    • If you are overweight but do not have a high waist measurement and have fewer than two other risk factors, you should avoid further weight gain.
     
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