About half of Americans are considered overweight or obese based on their body mass index (BMI), says Dr. Yancy. BMI is an important indicator of heart health because extra weight can raise blood pressure and cholesterol. Dr. Yancy's tips for lowering yours:
Know the Numbers You can calculate BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Or simply go to the BMI calculator at americanheart.org/bmi.
Change Your Diet Eat 3 to 4 servings of both fruits and veggies a day. Aim for 2 to 3 servings of fish per week and 2 to 3 servings of whole grains a day. Reduce daily fat intake to fewer than 70 grams. Limit sugar-sweetened drinks to 100 calories a day.
Walk It Off Exercise helps you slim down and is the best way to maintain a healthy BMI. Find a walking route in your neighborhood and grab a pair of sneakers. Even if you're crunched for time, sneak in a workout in the morning or on your lunch break.
Originally published in the May 2010 and June 2010 issues of Family Circle magazine.
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