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JAMA Patient Page
November 20, 2013

Obesity and the Heart

JAMA. 2013;310(19):2113. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.281901

The definition of obesity is based on body mass index (BMI), a number calculated from a person’s height and weight.

A normal BMI is between 18 and 25, and a BMI higher than 30 is considered obese. Obesity has been increasing as a problem in the United States, and currently more than 30% of US adults are obese. Obesity has been linked to many different health concerns, including heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, cancer, and arthritis.

Several different types of heart problems are related to obesity.

Heart problems related to obesity can be improved or even resolved with weight loss. A healthy diet combined with aerobic exercise should be the first approach to weight loss, but if these lifestyle modifications are not effective, bariatric surgery (gastric bypass or banding) may be an option. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about heart problems related to obesity.

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