Obesity means fat


Too many pounds are bad for your health

Obesity occurs when the body is supplied with more energy (calories) than it can use. Two factors are to blame: a diet high in fat and sugar and a sedentary lifestyle. The extra pounds are not only a cosmetic problem, they are also harmful to health. This is why very overweight people have a shorter life expectancy. Obesity is an important, preventable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In addition, being overweight promotes other risk factors such as high blood pressure, poor blood lipid levels and diabetes. The musculoskeletal system also suffers from excessive weight. This is why overweight people often have joint problems and back pain as a result of osteoarthritis at an early stage. Obesity is also a risk factor for certain cancers, such as breast cancer.

There are different definitions for overweight. The most important measure is the body mass index (BMI). It is calculated from your height and weight.

The BMI is calculated as follows: body weight in kilograms divided by height in square meters. Example: 65: (1.7 x 1.7) = 22.5

Weight classification in adults based on the BMI (according to WHO, as of 2008)

categoryBMI (kg / m²)
severe underweight< 16,00
moderate underweight16.0 to <17
slightly underweight17.0 to <18.5
Normal weight18.5 to <25
Obesity25.0 to <30
Obesity≥ 30

When it comes to being overweight, it is also important where the excess kilos accumulate. Depending on the distribution of the fatty tissue, a distinction is made between the "apple" and the "pear shape". In the apple shape, fat cells accumulate mainly in the abdominal area (typical in men), in the pear shape in the hip and thigh area (more typical in women). The apple shape means a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the pear shape.


The decisive factor is the waist circumference, measured at the level of the navel:

Increased cardiovascular riskAbdominal circumference over 102 cmAbdominal circumference over 88 cm

Shed excess pounds!

Obesity shortens life expectancy. Because being overweight promotes arteriosclerosis and its secondary diseases such as high blood pressure, high blood lipid levels and diabetes. By reducing your weight, you not only relieve your heart and blood vessels, but also your joints and back.

  • If you want to lose weight permanently, you need to change your diet and get more exercise. This is often very difficult - but your commitment is worth it!
  • Adhere to the principles of healthy eating and reduce caloric intake.
  • Eat more vegetables, fruits and lettuce, but eat less foods rich in fat and sugar.
  • Do not drink alcohol and watch out for hidden fats, for example in sausages or sauces.
  • Make sure you get regular exercise. Look for a type of exercise that you enjoy, for example dancing, aquafit, Nordic walking, fitness or swimming.
  • Losing weight takes patience: Reduce your excess weight slowly - one to two kilos per month is realistic.
  • Beware of "quick diets". The success usually lasts for a short time and after a few weeks you are heavier than before the diet. This yo-yo effect harms your body.
  • Look for support, for example from your family doctor or in a self-help group.
  • Don't let setbacks discourage you.

Where can I get more information?

If you have specific questions about nutrition and cardiovascular diseases, our heart phone or our internet advice center will also help you.

You can also obtain information on nutritional questions and advice, overweight and obesity from:

Enjoy heart-healthy - healthy nutrition for the heart and blood vessels

Eating habits play an important role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. The Mediterranean diet has proven to be particularly heart and vessel friendly. In this brochure we show you the way to a heart-healthy lifestyle and a better quality of life.

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Cardiovascular test

With this test you determine your personal cardiovascular risk.