What is overweight and obesity?
Overweight and obese are terms used to describe the body weight of people who are carrying excess body fat. To determine whether someone is overweight or obese, their body mass index (BMI) is calculated using their height and weight.
Becoming overweight or obese happens gradually as a result of either;
- consuming more energy (kilojoules from food and drinks) than your body needs;
- consuming more energy (kilojoules from food and drinks) than your body uses by being active;
- a combination of both.
Overweight and obesity is harmful to health as it increases a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It also increases their risk of developing other health issues, including high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, fertility problems, lower back pain and sleep apnoea.
The more excess weight a person is carrying, the higher their risk of health issues.
Want to find out if you are in the healthy weight range? Learn more at www.livelighter.com.au/bmi.
What is cardiovascular disease?
Cardiovascular disease is a term used to describe all diseases and conditions involving the heart and blood vessels. In Australia, the main types of cardiovascular diseases are coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure1. Cardiovascular disease is often referred to as heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia, responsible for nearly 44,000 deaths in 20122. On average, cardiovascular disease is the cause for one death every 12 minutes. Although heart disease is slightly higher in men, it kills three times more Australian women than breast cancer.
1Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014.
2Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012.
What causes cardiovascular disease?
Cardiovascular disease is caused by a number of risk factors that are either modifiable (risk factors you can change) or non-modifiable (risk factors you cannot change). It is important to remember that your risk of developing cardiovascular disease does not just depend on your body size, but also other risk factors including:
Modifiable risk factors
- Poor diet
- Low fruit and vegetable intake
- Excess intake of saturated fat and salt
- Being overweight or obese
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
Non-modifiable risk factors
- Genetic makeup
- Ethnic background
- Body shape or body fat distribution (where you store fat)
How is cardiovascular disease related to overweight and obesity?
Excess body weight is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The further above the healthy weight range a person is, the higher their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Nearly two thirds of Australian adults (63%) and one in four (25%) of Australian children are now overweight or obese. This increases their risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.