Losing Weight

         Basic Facts

  • Being overweight or obese is defined as carrying too much total body weight. In general, people gain weight by consuming too many calories and not expending enough energy to burn them away.
  • Obesity is a common problem in the United States. By losing just 10 percent of body weight, people can improve existing conditions and greatly reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease such as coronary heart disease, stroke or hypertension.
  • The most successful method for losing weight is a combination of a low-calorie diet, increased physical activity, and behavior therapies.
Healthy Heart Weight Loss

To determine whether a patient is overweight or obese, a healthcare provider uses body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference measurements. To determine BMI, the healthcare provider multiplies the patient's weight (in pounds) by 704.5. This number is divided by the patient's height (in inches) squared.

The BMI classifications are:

  • Less than 18.5 (underweight),
  • 18.5 to 24.9 (normal weight),
  • 25 to 29.9 (overweight),
  • 30 to 34.9 (obesity, class 1),
  • 35 to 39.9 (obesity, class 2), and
  • More than 40 (extreme obesity, class 3).

Waist circumference measurement helps determine a person's amount of abdominal fat.

Being overweight or obese is preventable. Healthcare providers may recommend one or more of the following weight loss therapies:

  • Low-calorie diet,
  • Physical activity,
  • Behavior therapy,
  • Combination therapy,
  • Medications, or
  • Bariatric (weight-reduction) surgery. 

Conditions Helped By Losing Weight

Losing weight can help a patient improve or prevent many of the following conditions: 

  • High blood pressure,
  • High cholesterol,
  • Type 2 diabetes,
  • Coronary heart disease,
  • Cardiomyopathy,
  • Atherosclerosis,
  • Pulmonary hypertension,
  • Stroke,
  • Gallbladder disease,
  • Osteoarthritis,
  • Sleep apnea,
  • Varicose veins,
  • Cancers, such as endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon cancer,
  • Psychological problems, such as depression,
  • Incontinence, and
  • Reproductive problems, such as infertility, early puberty, or absence of ovulation.

Losing Weight FAQ