Do you want to reduce health risks? Learning your body mass index is a good start.

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice
Most know that excess weight poses health risks.  Until now, there was no study showing exactly how much health risks are increased by excessive body weight.  The study of the New England Journal of Medicine (published on Thursday) shows that even being a few extra pounds overweight makes a difference.

The study shows that overweight persons or obese are more likely to develop heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even some types of cancer, all of which can lead to death.  An "obese" person is classified as having a body mass index (BMI) over 25 and morbid obesity is a body mass index over 40. 

Persons with a body mass index in the range of 20 to 24.9 have the lowest risk of serious health conditions, including stroke, heart disease and stroke.  For overweight persons with a body mass index between 25 and 29.9, the risk of serious health problems was 13 percent higher than it was for those in the healthy-weight group (BMI between 20 and 24.9). For persons with a body mass index in the range of 30 to 34.9, the risk of life-threatening health conditions was 44 percent higher than those in the healthy-weight group and for those with a body mass index between 35 and 39.9, the risk of these serious health problems increased by 88 percent.

For every five-point increase in body mass index, the chance of dying rose by 31 percent. The lead author of the study states that "even a small increase in the risk of death can be a real public health problem and result in a larger number of deaths." Even a relatively small drop in body mass index can significantly reduce your risk of serious health conditions and improve your chance of living a long life.

In view of the fact that more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, the results of this study are relevant to many in our country.  Check your body mass index with your primary care physician today and set up a game plan for reducing your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and a reduced life.
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