Obesity And High Cholesterol
The link between high cholesterol and obesity is significant. Therefore, losing weight can mean substantially lower cholesterol. Here are some important facts:
- 97 million (approximately ½) Americans are overweight or obese
- Diseases or conditions that increase with obesity are diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol – all of which can lead to heart disease
- Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 30. To measure BMI, take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 703 then divide that number by your height in inches and then again by height in inches. For example, a 135 pound woman who is 5’3” has a BMI of 23.9 and is considered normal, although approaching the high end of the scale. (135x703)/63”/63”= 23.9)
Listed as one of the major risk factors to high cholesterol, obesity is also a contributor to heart disease. Obese people generally have high levels of triglycerides too and 20% of triglyceride value is factored into the total cholesterol level.
Dieting can lead to weight loss and lower cholesterol levels. Not only should there be a reduction in calories, but the source and nutrients contained in the calories is critical. Up to a 4% reduction in cholesterol is possible by diet alone as found in a study of men with total cholesterol greater than 256 mg/dL.
There are two major types of cholesterol that are measured in a normal blood test. The low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is considered the bad cholesterol. High density lipoprotein (HDL) is good because it helps removes excess LDL from the arteries. Obesity is a problem for many reasons, but one is that not only does it raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, but also it results in lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
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