When Are Extra Pounds a Danger?

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Jonathan Sackner Bernstein, MD
It's not as though there is a magic amount of excess weight that leads you to a point where you are going to be at risk of a heart attack or stroke. There are many people, you can look around the streets of most major cities and see that there are many people who are extremely overweight. A lot of them won't go on to heart attack or strokes, but overall, if you are overweight, your risk goes up as your weight goes up. So the problem is, identify it. It's the weight. It's not a particular amount. The question now is what do you do about it? And that's a really tough thing, because the people who are at higher risk when you hit your 50s and 60s, metabolism is different. Losing 10 pounds is tough, let alone losing 50 and that's where it's very important as a person who is overweight going to the doctor to be proactive, talk to the doctor, see what options there are. Find out who you can talk with. Many insurance plans don't volunteer the information that they pay for a nutritionist, but if a doctor actually measures your body mass index and gives you the medical label of obese, many insurance plans will actually cover the visits with nutritionists. So it's not necessarily bad to be obese if you're that overweight, because as a medical term perhaps it can give you access to resources that can help make a difference.