Health Information continued...
Improving Overall Health
Ryane Greene, MHS, RD, LDN
According to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Although there are several reasons for dieting, one of the most common reasons is to improve one’s overall health. When it comes to chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, strokes, etc., weight loss is the first line of defense if you are considered overweight or obese. Individuals should aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of their current body weight to see improvements in their overall health.
Know your numbers. It’s important to keep track of your blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides, HbA1c, and waist circumference. Desired numbers for the markers mentioned are; blood pressure at 120/80 mmHg or less, total blood cholesterol lower than 200 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol greater than 60 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL, triglycerides under 150 mg/dL, fasting blood glucose 100 mg/dL or less, HbA1c at 5.7 percent or lower, and a waist circumference 40 inches or less for men and 35 inches or less for women.
Lifestyle changes. It may be necessary to make some lifestyle changes in order to have desired weight loss. Start off with one small goal. Try first to eat smaller portions. Use smaller dinner plates, drink water with dinner to fill up faster, use measuring cups or a kitchen scale to keep your portions adequate.