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Are you at risk?
There are many factors that impact your health risk such as BMI score, waist size, smoking, the types of foods you eat regularly, exercise and medical conditions associated with obesity including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), assessment of overweight and obesity involves three key steps:

1. Calculate your BMI

BMI Scale BMI Scale
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BMI Scale
BMI Scale

2. Determine your waist circumference
Determine your waist circumference by placing a measuring tape snugly around your waist. It is a good indicator of your abdominal fat which is another predictor of your risk for developing risk factors for heart disease and other diseases. This risk increases with a waist measurement of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women.

The table, Risks of Obesity-Associated Diseases by BMI and Waist Circumference, provides you with an idea of whether your BMI combined with your waist circumference increases your risk for developing obesity associated diseases or conditions.

3. Assess other risk factors
Besides being overweight or obese, there are additional risk factors to consider that include:

High blood pressure (hypertension)
High LDL-cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)
Low HDL-cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)
High triglycerides
High blood glucose (sugar)
Family history of premature heart disease
Physical inactivity
Cigarette smoking
For people who are considered obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) or those who are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and have two or more risk factors, the guidelines recommend weight loss. Even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity.

People who are overweight, do not have a high waist measurement and have less than two risk factors, may need to focus on preventing further weight gain rather than losing weight.

Talk to your doctor to see if you are at an increased risk and if you should lose weight.

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