Health Tip: Three Weight Stats That Can Predict Health

Your weight can be a strong indicator of your general health.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says three weight calculations are good predictors of how healthy you are: body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity.

BMI is calculated from your height and weight. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems and certain cancers, the agency says.

If most fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you're at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men, the agency says.

To measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hips. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.

And along with being obese, certain conditions increase your risk of heart disease and other chronic medical problems. These factors include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • High LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
  • Low HDL ("good") cholesterol.
  • High triglycerides.
  • High blood sugar.
  • Family history of early heart disease.
  • Insufficient exercise.
  • Smoking.

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