Health care providers generally agree that people who have a BMI of 30 or greater can improve their health through weight loss. This is especially true for people with a BMI of 40 or greater, who are considered extremely obese. Preventing additional weight gain is recommended if you have a BMI between 25 and 29.9, unless you have other risk factors for obesity-related diseases. Obesity experts recommend you try to lose weight if you have two or more of the following:
I. Family history of certain chronic diseases. If you have close relatives who have had heart disease or diabetes, you are more likely to develop these problems if you are obese.
II. Preexisting medical conditions. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, high triglycerides, and high blood glucose are all warning signs of some obesity-associated diseases.
III. Large waist circumference. Men who have waist circumferences greater than 40 inches, and women who have waist circumferences greater than 35 inches, are at higher risk of diabetes, dyslipidemia (abnormal amounts of fat in the blood), high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Fortunately, a weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your initial body weight can do much to improve health by lowering blood pressure and other risk factors for obesity-related diseases. In addition, research shows that a 5- to 7-percent weight loss brought about by moderate diet and exercise can delay or possibly prevent type 2 diabetes in people at high risk for the disease. In a recent study, participants who were overweight and had pre-diabetes, a condition in which a person's blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, were able to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes by adopting a low-fat, low-calorie diet and exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
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