Midlife Obesity Affects Health Later On
Weight Linked to Late-Life Heart, Diabetes Deaths
Lose Weight, Get Moving
The American Heart Association has long recognized obesity as a major risk
factor for cardiovascular disease -- one of six modifiable risk factors along
with smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, and
AHA spokesman and cardiologist Gerald Fletcher, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in
Jacksonville, Fla., tells WebMD that while most people who are obese also have
other cardiovascular risk factors, this isn't always the case.
He says carrying extra weight puts excess strain on the heart, which could
help explain its role in increasing heart attack and stroke risk despite other
Fletcher says people can lower their cardiovascular risk by losing weight,
not smoking, keeping high blood pressure and cholesterol under control with
medication, and getting active.
That means walking or doing something else to get your heart rate up from 30
to 60 minutes a day, six to seven days a week, he says. He adds that only about
one in four people in the U.S. get enough cardiovascular exercise.
"You don't have to do it all at once," he says. "You can spread
it throughout the day, but our data tell us that most people still aren't doing
it. And about 17% of the country is not exercising at all."