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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:

Sample Menus for Reducing Caloric Intake

Menu 1: Higher Calorie Menu 2: Lower Calorie
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pieces white toast
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 strips bacon
  • ½ cup egg substitute
  • ¼ cup cooked mushrooms
  • ¼ cup cooked spinach
  • 2 pieces whole wheat toast
  • Fat free vegetable oil spray
  • Quarter pound burger with cheese
  • Medium french fries
  • 1 medium cola
  • Caesar Salad with grilled chicken
  • 1 medium diet cola
  • Pork cutlet and mashed potatoes frozen dinner.
  • 12 fluid ounces lemonade
  • 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
Nutrition Information
  • Calories 1235 kilocalories
  • Total Fat 36 grams
  • Saturated Fat 15 grams
  • Carbohydrate 139 grams

salad with chicken

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:

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.