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Obesity and Body Mass Index Report
Excess Weight Increases Risk of High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
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BMI Overweight & Obesity

Many Americans are becoming overweight or obese. Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most commonly used measures of obesity.

BMI - Measure Obesity
BMI is generally related to body fat. Higher BMIs usually mean higher body fat. As body fat or BMI increases, especially from values equal to or greater than 30, health risks increase. Being overweight (BMI of 25 to 30) or being obese (BMI greater than 30) increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer, arthritis, and breathing problems. When overweight or obese people lose weight, they also lower their blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL (or "bad") cholesterol, increase their HDL (or "good") cholesterol, improve their blood sugar levels, and reduce their amount of abdominal fat.

BMI Weight Loss Research
The National Institutes of Health issued a report in 1998 to identify and treat obesity and overweight. Many scientific research studies suggest that weight loss reduces chronic diseases and improves the life span of people who are overweight. This report provided recommendations to clinicians and the public about weight management. In developing this report, more than 43,627 research articles were obtained from a search of the scientific literature and reviewed by a panel of researchers. Researchers have examined the importance of weight reduction in people with high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and osteoarthritis, and reported that weight loss reduces the risks for these diseases.

BMI Weight Loss Research Conclusions
The link between BMI and health shows that overweight or obese people are more likely than those at normal weight to have medical problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Research studies have shown that even a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week for six months can improve the health of overweight people. The goal of weight loss should be to improve health. Rapid weight loss, swings in body weight, and improper dieting should not be the goal.

Source: Publication of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion 2000

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