Weight management

Both overweight and obesity are associated with an increased risk of CVD mortality1. Obesity, especially abdominal obesity, increases the likelihood of developing diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, CHD, stroke, and it has been clearly linked to poor health outcomes and all-cause mortality1,11. An increase in the BMI is associated with adverse changes in the blood lipid profile resulting in elevated TC, LDL-cholesterol, and TG levels and low HDL-cholesterol levels12. The risk of comorbidities starts already with a BMI in the range of 25.0−29.9 kg/m2 (overweight) and it further increases with a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 (obesity). Weight loss has a beneficial influence on HDL-cholesterol levels13 and also on TC and LDL-cholesterol in the long term14.

In this context, weight reduction in the presence of overweight, obesity and abdominal adiposity is recommended1,6 as it is associated with favorable effects on BP and dyslipidemia.

When present, excess intra-abdominal fat has been associated with several metabolic abnormalities, which may lead to CVD14. Assessing and monitoring changes in waist circumference over time may be helpful, in addition to measuring BMI, since it can provide an estimate of increased abdominal adiposity even in the absence of a change in BMI, thus screening for possible health risks14.

If the waist circumference is ≥ 94 cm in men and ≥80 cm for women no further weight should be gained.
If the waist circumference is ≥102 cm in men and ≥88 cm for women weight reduction should be advised1.

To achieve optimal health, a BMI 20-25 kg/m2, and a waist circumference <94 cm (men) and <80 cm (women) should be maintained.

Focusing on dietary and lifestyle interventions is the core of weight management.

Making healthy food choices, being physically active (see above), and reducing sedentary time should be encouraged.

Additionally, personal motivation plays a decisive role in switching toward a healthier diet and lifestyle.

REMEMBER: Even moderate weight loss may have a great impact on general and cardiovascular health, encourage it when needed.

Many of the unfavorable effects of excess body weight on blood lipid profile can be reversed with weight reduction.

Test your knowledge
For optimal health… (More than one answer may be correct)
  1. ...a body mass index (BMI) of 20-25 kg/m2 should be achieved
  2. ...a waist circumference of <94 cm (men) and <80 cm (women) should be maintained
  3. ...a body mass index (BMI) of up to 35 kg/m2 can be tolerated
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