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Being Overweight

What does being overweight mean?

How do I know if I am overweight?

 What does being overweight mean?

Being overweight means that you are carrying too much body fat.  If you are very overweight, or obese, you are making your heart work harder and you are increasing your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

Your shape, particularly the area of your body where you tend to store body fat, can also influence your risk of developing heart disease.  People who are "apple shaped", or who store fat mostly around their abdomen (stomach area), are more likely to develop coronary heart disease compared to people who are "pear shaped", or who store fat mostly around their hips and thighs.

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How do I know if I am overweight?

Waist Measurement

A simple and accurate way to know if you are carrying too much extra weight is to measure your waist using an ordinary tape measure.  Your waist is the most dangerous area for fat to be stored as it increases the risk of heart disease.  A reduction in waist measurement is a good indicator that you are losing fat.

The table below shows the relationship between waist measurement and the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Waist Measurement          Risk of Heart 
(inches/cms)                    Disease or Stroke
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Males
 37"/94cm or more             Increased risk
 more than 40"/104cm        Even greater risk
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Females 32"/80cm or more             Increased risk
 more than 35"/88cm          Even greater risk
-------------------------------------------------------

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body mass index or BMI is another good guide to your level of obesity. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in squared meters

e.g.   body weight = 60kg             height = 1.6 meters

         BMI = 60/(1.6x1.6)    
   
         BMI=23.44kg/m2

The table below gives a guide to BMI scores

Underweight          BMI less than 18 kg/m2

Healthy Weight      BMI between 18kg/m2 and 25kg/m2

Overweight            BMI greater than 25kg/m2 

Obese                  BMI greater than 30kg/m2 

Very Obese           BMI greater than 40kg/m2

The good news is that by becoming more physically active and improving your eating habits you can help yourself get to your healthy body weight.  The losing weight section in 'making ilfestyle changes' gives advice and tips on how to lose weight safely.

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