Lower blood pressure
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. Your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure—and losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have hypertension.
Overweight and obesity are also risk factors for heart disease. And being overweight or obese increases your chances of developing high blood cholesterol and diabetes—two more risk factors for heart disease.
Two key measures are used to determine if someone is overweight or obese. These are body mass index, or BMI, and waist circumference.
BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. It gives an approximation of total body fat—and that’s what increases the risk of diseases that are related to being overweight. Lower blood pressure.
But BMI alone does not determine risk. For example, in someone who is very muscular or who has swelled from fluid retention (called edema), BMI may overestimate body fat.
BMI may underestimate body fat in older persons or those losing muscle.
That’s why waist measurement is often checked as well. Another reason is that too much body fat in the stomach area also increases disease risk. A waist measurement of more
than 35 inches in women and more than 40 inches in men is considered high.
Check the chart in box 3 for your approximate BMI value. Checkbox 4 to see if you are at a normal weight, overweight, or obese. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9; obesity is defined as a BMI equal to or greater than 30.
If you fall in the obese range according to the guidelines in box 4, you are at increased risk for heart disease and need to lose weight. You also should lose weight if you are overweight and have two or more heart disease risk factors. (See box 1.) If you fall in the
normal weight range or are overweight but do not need to lose pounds, you still should be careful not to gain weight.
Tips to Help Lower Your Sodium Intake There are many small changes you can make in your food choices that will help lower your sodium intake. Aim for at least less than 2300 mg of sodium a day 1.Eat fresh and unprocessed foods more often 2.Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits or dried fruit 3.Choose fresh, frozen or low-sodium canned fish 4.Limit processed, cured, smoked or breaded meats and poultry 5.Use small amounts of oil, rather than butter or margarine for cooking 6.Try making homemade salad dressing, or use commercial dressings sparingly 7.Flavour food with lemon juice, fresh garlic, spices, herbs and flavoured vinegar 8.Look for unsalted snack foods if buying chips, pretzels, nuts, seeds and crackers 9.Use quick-cooking, rather than instant oatmeal 10.Limit all cheese, especially processed cheese slices or spreads