overweight

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Lowering Your Health Risks of Being Overweight


If you are overweight, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight may improve many of the problems linked to being overweight, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and are considered overweight on the weight-for-height chart, you would need to lose 10 to 20 pounds. Even a small weight loss can improve your health.

Slow and steady weight loss of no more than 1 pound per week is the safest way to lose weight. Very rapid weight loss can cause you to lose muscle rather than fat. It also increases your chances of developing other problems, such as gallstones, gout, and nutrient deficiencies. Making long-term changes in your eating and physical activity habits is the best way to lose weight and keep it off over time.

  • Eat Better: Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight, you should take a look at your eating habits and try to improve them. Try to eat a variety of foods, especially pasta, rice, bread, and other whole-grain foods. You should also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods will fill you up and are lower in calories than foods full of oils or fats. For more information on healthy eating, see the Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans booklet that is available from the Weight-control Information Network (WIN).

  • Increase Physical Activity: Making physical activity a part of your daily life is an important way to help control your weight and lower your risk for health problems. Spend less time in activities that use little energy like watching television and playing video games and more time in physical activities. Try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day on most days of the week. The activity does not have to be done all at once. It can be done in short spurts--10 minutes here, 20 minutes there--as long as it adds up to 30 minutes a day. Simple ways to become more physically active include walking to the store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
If you are not overweight but health problems related to being overweight run in your family, it is important that you try to keep your weight steady. If you have family members with weight-related health problems, you are more likely to develop them yourself. If you are not sure of your risk of developing a weight-related health problem, you should talk to your health care provider.




The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. WIN provides information on weight control, obesity, and nutritional disorders. WIN responds to requests for information; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and develops communications strategies to encourage individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
last updated: 10 February 1998




last update: February 2009



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