Overweight and Obesity
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Overweight and Obesity

Overweight and Obesity Prevention

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You and your child should each see a healthcare provider once a year to monitor changes in body mass index (BMI). Your provider or your child’s pediatrician may recommend lifestyle changes if BMI regularly increases. This is to prevent you or your child from developing overweight or obesity.

What factors contribute to a healthy or unhealthy weight?

Many factors can contribute to a person’s weight. These include your:

  • Behavior or lifestyle habits, such as lack of physical activity, sedentary behaviors, a poor diet, and poor sleep habits
  • Environment, such as where you live and the lifestyle habits within your family
  • Economic factors that can influence the foods that you can afford and other lifestyle habits
  • Family history and genetics
  • Metabolism (the way your body converts food into energy)

Additionally, people from communities with fewer resources, who have food insecurity, or who face other similar issues tend to have a higher risk of developing obesity. NHLBI-funded research found that unhealthy lifestyle habits can worsen the risk of obesity in people who have a genetic risk of obesity. You cannot change some of these factors; for example, the genes you inherit from your parents that determine how tall you are. But you can replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones.

Learn more about our research on obesity.

What healthy habits prevent overweight and obesity?

If your BMI indicates you are getting close to being overweight or if you have certain risk factors, your provider may recommend you adopt healthy lifestyle changes to prevent overweight and obesity. Such changes may include healthy eating, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and getting enough good-quality sleep.

Learn more about plans created and tested by NHLBI researchers that can help prevent overweight and obesity. These eating plans and programs offer practical, easy-to-follow advice on how to eat a heart-healthy diet and move your body regularly.

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