We are often told that maintaining a healthy body weight is important for our overall health. But how exactly does our weight correlate with our heart health?
Think of it like this: the larger your body, the harder your heart must work to pump and circulate blood. Extra weight also increases the body’s volume, which creates more resistance for the heart to overcome as it pumps. This results in the heart having to work much harder all the time.
To determine if your weight could be an issue for your heart, you should first determine if your weight is healthy. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. In general, a BMI of 21-25 is considered normal. A BMI of 25 to 30 is considered overweight. A BMI of more than 30 is considered obese. To help you figure out if your weight is within a normal range, you can use a BMI calculator at the National Institutes of Health website.
If your weight isn't in the healthy range for your height and build, the best ways to lose weight are to:
- Set a reasonable goal. A realistic weight loss goal is 5% to 7% of your body weight.?
- Lose weight slowly. You can aim for ½ pound to 1 pound a week.?
- Build a healthy pattern of eating and exercise. Make this something that you can follow for the rest of your life.
For more Heart Health resources, please visit our Be Good To Your Heart page.