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Relating Risk Factors to the Weight That's Healthiest for You

Healthcare professionals use more than Body Mass Index (BMI), your weight, or the size of your waist to determine whether you need to lose weight. They also look at weight-related risk factors before determining whether the weight you’re at is healthy.

A healthy weight is a range that relates statistically to good health. Being overweight or obese is statistically related to weight-related health problems, such as heart disease and hypertension.

The risk factors that healthcare professionals look for include

  • Age (older than 45 years old for males or 55, or postmenopausal, for females)

  • Arthritis in the knees or hips

  • Family medical history of weight-related health problems

  • Family history of early death (younger than 55 for males and 65 for females) from heart disease

  • High blood pressure

  • High blood cholesterol

  • High blood sugar

  • Respiratory problems

  • Smoking

If you have any of the risk factors in the previous list, even if you’re in the healthy weight range, many healthcare professionals may suggest that you lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight to improve or lessen these risk factors. If you are overweight, getting to your healthy weight is all the more urgent.

Losing weight if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding or are less than 18 years old is rarely recommended. Check with your doctor first.

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