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Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death globally. Studies show that obesity is linked to:
- increases in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks
- decreases in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
- high blood pressure
- increased risk for type 2 diabetes
The combination of excess weight and diabetes is associated with a greater risk for heart disease and complications from diabetes. A study of almost 116,000 nurses found that the likelihood of developing heart disease was about 75% greater for overweight women compared to women at a healthy weight. The risk tripled for women with a BMI higher than 29.2.
Just as research has found that weight gain increases risk, studies have also shown that weight loss, even in small amounts, can lead to big improvements in cardiovascular risk factors. Maintaining a healthy weight or focusing on lifestyle changes that lead to a 5% to 10% loss in body weight can play a significant role in reducing your risk of heart disease.
Weight Watchers offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that can help you reach your goals. Learn more about Weight Watchers and how to join.
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is present 10 times more often in obese people compared with those who are not obese. Coronary artery disease is also more prevalent because fatty deposits build up in arteries that supply the heart. Narrowed arteries and reduced blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. Blood clots can also form in narrowed arteries and cause a stroke.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.