Lowering Your Health Risks

Lose Weight
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If you are overweight, losing as little as 5-10 percent of your body weight may improve many of the problems linked to being overweight such as high blood pressure and diabetes. For example: If you weigh 200 pounds and are considered overweight, you would need to lose 10-20 pounds. Even a small weight loss can improve your health.

The safest way to lose weight is slowly and steadily, no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. Very rapid weight loss can cause you to lose muscle rather than fat. Making long-term changes in your eating and physical activity habits is the best way to lose weight and keep it off over time.

Eat Better
Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight, you should take a look at your eating habits and try to improve them. Try to eat a variety of foods, especially whole grain pasta, rice, bread and other whole-grain foods that will keep you full longer and are lower in calories. You should also eat plenty of fruit and vegetables since they are full of important vitamins and minerals for your health, plus they are low in calories. These foods are full of nutrients, high in fiber (which is good for your digestive system and keeps your hunger at bay) and have less calories in comparison to foods high in fat.

Increase Physical Activity
Fitting exercise into your daily routine is an important way to help control your weight and lower your risk for health problems. Try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day on most days of the week. The activity does not have to be done all at once. It can be done in short spurts - 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there - as long as it adds up to 30 minutes a day. For weight loss, at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity is recommended. Make sure to start off slow and gradually go up to the 60 minutes per day.