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How does BMI affect my risk for high cholesterol?

Your body mass index is one way to assess your weight in relation to your height. Being overweight puts you at greater risk for heart disease. People who are overweight are more likely to have lower levels of HDL cholesterol, higher levels of LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. All these are risk factors for heart disease. Losing as few as 10 to 20 pounds may reduce your risk.

How to Reduce Your Risk

Take these actions to have a healthier heart.

  • If you don't know your blood cholesterol level, have it tested.
  • Talk with your doctor about strategies for losing weight.
  • Limit your total fat intake to no more than 25% to 35% of your total daily calories. A low-fat diet can help you lose weight and reduce blood cholesterol.
  • Increase your activity. It will help burn excess calories, which can help you lose weight. It can also help your health by raising HDL cholesterol and reducing other risk factors for heart disease.
  • Remember that even low-fat foods can be high in calories. Eating too many calories from any food can lead to weight gain. Choose foods that are lower in fat and calories.