More Reasons Obesity, Inactivity Harm Your Heart

You may recall a remarkably nutty study I posted last year that argued being overweight -- but not obese -- can extend your life, although there's a raft of evidence that the exact opposite is true. Fortunately, the tide has turned back to reality, according to a new study in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Carrying all those extra pounds and living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to poor heart health in women, in comparison to those who are leaner and more active. These are big problems, considering 65 percent of Americans are obese or overweight, more than half of them don't get the physical activity their bodies need daily and, besides, women outnumber men.

Based on an analysis of more than 27,000 seemingly healthy women who were overweight, those who carried a high number of pounds and were largely sedentary, had nearly all of the 11 markers related to heart problems, including atherosclerosis.

Also, obese or overweight patients possessed the risk factors that increased their chances of a heart attack or stroke by a factor of 10, compared to women who maintained a normal weight. Here's the real kicker: Physical inactivity elevated the risks of those dangerous markers by as much as 50 percent in all women regardless of their size.

One of the obvious lessons learned here: Exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand in helping you achieve good health. To that end, you have plenty of free tools available on my Web site to help you get started on both.

Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 295, No. 12, March 22-29, 2006: 1412-1419

Yahoo News March 21, 2006

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