Consultant Cardiologist Lucy Blows on why maintaining a healthy wait is so important this time of year

Sussex Life - January 2014 cover

Sussex Life - January 2014 cover - Credit: Archant

The excess of Christmas feasting, followed by New Year resolutions to lose weight means January is diet month. Lucy Blows, Consultant Cardiologist at the Montefiore Hospital, explains how important it is to maintain a healthy weight

Most of us tend to lose weight because we want to look slimmer. People very often go on a diet before they get married or go on holiday, but the best reason for losing weight is for your health.

As a nation, we are becoming more and more obese. A survey carried out in 2012 revealed that a quarter of adults in England are obese. And with obesity comes a multitude of health problems – according to the World Health Organisation, at least 2.8 million adults die each year of obesity- related causes. Diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer are among the leading health risks. Carrying excess weight puts additional strain on the joints and ligaments, causing musculoskeletal problems. If you have a chronic condition, such as asthma or high blood pressure, being obese will make it worse.

So at what point do you go from being overweight to being obese? We usually define weight by using the Body Mass Index (BMI). The calculation is made by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared – there are BMI calculators online that will do the maths for you. If your BMI is above 25, then you are considered overweight. If it exceeds 30 then you are classed as obese.

It also makes a difference where you carry your fat. The more you carry around your middle, the more impact it has on your vital organs, so your waist measurement is important too. Women with a waist measurement of 80cm and above and men with a measurement of 94cm and above have an increased risk of obesity-related problems.

If you are overweight, losing some of the weight is probably the most significant thing you can do to improve your health. There is no magic formula – it is a case of consuming fewer calories than you burn. In order to do this, you need to eat a healthy balanced diet and increase your activity. Sounds simple in theory but it can be very hard to maintain. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to make changes to your lifestyle, which is not easy in our modern world of ready meals and sedentary jobs. However, there is plenty of support available for those who want to lose weight and even a modest reduction has health benefits.

If you are concerned about your weight we recommend that you talk to your GP, who will explain the benefits of reducing and will help you to find a strategy to lose weight. You may be referred to a dietician who will help you to change your eating behaviour long-term.

Lucy Blows is a consultant cardiologist at the Montefiore Hospital in Hove. She specialises in the treatment of heart conditions including coronary heart disease, angina and chest pain. For further information, please call 01273 828120 or visit

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