University of Illinois Extension
 

How is excess body weight related to cardiovascular disease?

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According to the American Heart Association, weight gain is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. This means that excessive body weight alone (without other risk factors) can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. For this reason, maintaining a healthy body weight is a high priority. The two major American Heart Association guidelines for maintaining a healthy body weight are:

  • Match intake of energy (calories) to overall energy needs; limit consumption of foods with a high caloric density and/or low nutritional quality, including those with a high content of sugars.
  • Maintain a level of physical activity that achieves fitness and balances energy expenditure with energy intake. For weight reduction, expenditure should exceed intake.

Sample Menus for Reducing Caloric Intake

Menu 1: Higher Calorie

Menu 2: Lower Calorie

Breakfast

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pieces white toast
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 strips bacon

Breakfast

  • ½ cup egg substitute
  • ¼ cup cooked mushrooms
  • ¼ cup cooked spinach
  • 2 pieces whole wheat toast
  • Fat free vegetable oil spray

Lunch

  • Quarter pound burger with cheese
  • Medium french fries
  • 1 medium cola

Lunch

  • Caesar Salad with grilled chicken
  • 1 medium diet cola

Dinner

  • Pork cutlet and mashed potatoes frozen dinner.
  • 12 fluid ounces lemonade

Dinner

  • Beef portabello and mashed potatoes frozen dinner.
  • 1 cup light ice cream
  • 12 fluid ounces lemonade.

Nutrition Information

Calories 2050 kilocalories

Total Fat 91 grams

Saturated Fat 30 grams

Carbohydrate 238 grams

Calories 1235 kilocalories

Total Fat 36 grams

Saturated Fat 15 grams

Carbohydrate 139 grams

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a numerical value used by health care providers to determine if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. These weight categories (underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese) are used to estimate a person’s overall risk for developing chronic diseases.

A body mass index calculator is available on the Center for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/calc-bmi.htm

Visit this website to learn your BMI and what it means.

It is important to note that BMI categories are not gender specific, and that BMI is not a measurement of body composition (fat and lean mass). Talk with your health care provided about your BMI. If you are pregnant, under 18, or a competitive athlete, this tool may not be an accurate measure of health or disease risk.

Back to: Eating for Cardiovascular Health

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.