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Know Your Numbers

The secret to preventing heart disease

The American Heart Association recommends that you be aware of five key numbers: Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI). A high BMI number means you are overweight or obese. Obesity rates vary state-to-state, but remain high nationwide. Across the United States, more than one in three adults and one in six children (ages 2-19) are obese — and one in 11 young children (ages 2-5) are obese. Adult obesity rates range from a high of 37.7 in Louisiana to a low of 22.3 in Colorado. People who are overweight or obese have increased risks for diseases and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. 25% of young adults who try to join the military are ineligible due to fitness or weight concerns.

A person's ideal body weight varies by gender, age, height, and frame. Your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference provide good indicators of whether you are at a healthy weight. A body mass index of 18.6-24.9 ( less than 25) is a healthy number in the adult population. Waistline smaller than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men indicates another healthy number. Comparing the prevalence of obesity, there are currently more obese women than men.

Get your numbers checked and keep track of what you eat. Always try to balance the number of calories that you consume with the number that you burn off from activities. Paying attention to your portion sizes helps. Many of the major health risks that men and women face can be prevented by maintaining a good diet and taking early action with screening tests.

When you take these simple steps and know your risks and know your health numbers, you improve your chances of living a healthy life.



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