According to the American Heart Association, 130 million Americans are obese.  Are you one of them? From preschoolers to middle aged men and women, obesity has become more of a problem than ever before, not only for your waistline but as the number one factor contributing to heart disease. Don’t be a statistic. Become educated on the factors, risks and solution to obesity – no matter what age you may be. Here are the facts to keep you educated and alert.

Overweight vs. Obese

Are you overweight or obese? Here’s the bottom line:  if your body mass index is over 30, you’re obese, and if its below thirty, you’re may be overweight.  Women should measure no more than a 35 inch waistline, while men shouldn’t go over 40. Many people don’t know the distinction between overweight and obesity, but the fact is, the growing number of obese children and adults continues to rise. What category do you fall in?

The general rule of thumb goes like this: as your accumulate more fat on your body, the fat cells makes the surface of your arties narrow, by which your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The result? Coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and heart attacks. Whereas being overweight is simply weighing more than the average amount for your designated height, obesity is the storage of, and disposition of, excessive fat.  The American Heart Association states that obesity (especially excess fat around the mid-section) is and remains to be the number one cause of heart disease and the numbers continue to go up.

Obesity is also on the rise, with depression, hormones, fast food, sedentary careers/home life; stress, large portion sizes as factors while diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease as major contributing health risks. From children to adults, obesity continues to not only affect every age group  in the United States but contributes to countless short and long term detrimental health effects that when not corrected, can become fatal.

Obesity, Even for Preschoolers

Being 20% or more above your target weight puts you at risk for obesity, but what health concerns do you really have to think about when eating larger portions than you should? The health of your heart. Now more than ever, no one is safe – not even teenagers, who pose a 10% increase risk to heart disease. Does your preschooler fall in the average weight for their height and age? A poll recently administrated to groups of four and five year olds revealed that 10% of children in preschool are also at risk for obesity, which puts them at a greater risk for developing heart disease as adults.

Getting out of the Obesity Zone

When was the last time you felt really good about the way you looked? When in your life have you had high energy levels that took you through your entire day with enthusiasm? Your target weight should be not just the right number on a scale, but a weight that made you look and feel your best. Begin by making small steps to take yourself out of the ‘obesity risk zone’ and into a weight that will allow you to live your best, healthiest life. Increase your quality of life by cutting your portion sizes in half, moderately exercising three times a week of thirty minutes each, and creating as much movement as possible throughout your day. Do you have an office job that doesn’t allow you much standing or walking time? That’s ok. Just getting up once every hour to walk around the office will help decrease the risks that a sedentary job poses.

No matter how high your BMI may be, you can always make improvements – no matter where you’re starting from!  From taking a thirty minute walk to swapping your steaks for whole grains and vegetables, you’re in control of what you eat, how much you eat and the amount of exercise you include in your daily routine. After all, it’s not just for waistline’s sake. Your heart and the future of its health depend on it.