February is American Heart Month, and today I have an interview with Leonardo Rodriguez, MD, a staff cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic for you. Dr. Rodriguez is here today to talk about the connection between excess weight and heart health.
People seem to understand that being overweight or obese is harmful to our health.
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s 2019 Heart Health Survey, even though a vast majority of Americans (88%) understand the connection between a healthy heart and maintaining a healthy weight, and three-quarters (74%) agree that improving their heart health is a major motivator in wanting to lose weight – they aren’t doing enough about it. Instead of taking responsibility, the majority of Americans surveyed (53%) complain that their metabolism is working against them, but is it?
Too many of us are not doing enough to lose the excess weight. I know. I’ve been there. Dieting (that dreadful word) is hard! But take a look at the statistics. They are simply scary. Our country is becoming more and more overweight.
Forty percent of American adults and nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese – these are the highest rates ever recorded for the U.S. according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, 70.7 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese, meaning that an unhealthy weight has become the norm for Americans.
That’s a whole lot of our friends, neighbors, family, and maybe even ourselves.
The bottom line is that obesity is a complex problem, and it needs to be dealt with from a variety of approaches.
The Connection Between Excess Weight and Heart Health
Dr. Rodriguez talks about the role of education, exercise, meeting with your doctor to have the important discussion about how to approach this problem, and finding a program that is right for you.
Obesity is linked to much more than heart disease…but according to the Cleveland Clinic’s 2019 Heart Health Survey Americans’ knowledge of this is limited, putting them at risk. Nine-in-ten (87%) Americans fail to link obesity to cancer and eight-in-ten (80%) don’t connect obesity with atrial fibrillation. While they correctly link being overweight or obese with high blood pressure (59%) and type 2 diabetes (55%), many are unaware of other conditions it is linked to, such as high LDL cholesterol levels (54%), coronary heart disease (57%) and heart failure (58%).
What’s more, there is an education gap and many misconceptions on what exactly excess weight or obesity does to America’s hearts – with a majority of Americans not realizing that fat tissue releases inflammatory substances, which harm the heart (60% are unaware), and that obesity leads to structural changes in the heart (70% are unaware).
We all know that to lose weight we need to decrease our overall calorie intake, boost our diet with fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil; we know that we need to get out and exercise more. All of these are important factors. But for me – what really helped me lose over twenty pounds was getting into the right mindset. Getting myself into the right mindset allowed me to make the changes that I needed. Changes that developed healthier habits and that then led to weight loss.
If you are one of the Americans that falls into that 70% of people that are carrying around excess weight, what is stopping you from losing the it? Weight is hard to lose – I get it! But losing the excess weight is so important to our overall health – physical, emotional, and mental. I wish you well on your journey to health.