Obesity is one of the leading causes of several health problems including heart disease, diabetes and kidney problems. It is also one of the key factors that contribute to health problems like increased cholesterol levels.
So, how does weight actually affect your cholesterol levels?
Dr Nitish Naik, a cardiologist from AIIMS, New Delhi, highlights that being overweight or obese can push up the bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower the good cholesterol (HDL). Therefore, it’s important to keep your weight in control, he says. Increased weight means increased fat, which comes from over-consumption of packaged, processed and junk foods that are rich in saturated fats and trans fats. These are two major contributors to the production of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or the bad cholesterol in the body. Several studies have shown that overweight and obese individuals have a high tendency to develop heart diseases and have an increased mortality rate due to it as well.
However, Dr Naik also mentions that those who are not overweight should not take their health for granted. “Even thin people can have high cholesterol because there are other factors, including inheritance, that affect cholesterol levels. Advancing age can also raise bad cholesterol levels. Therefore, regardless of your weight, diet and physical activity, all adults should have their cholesterol levels checked,” he concludes.
If you are overweight and have high cholesterol, what should you do about it?
“A healthy diet and regular physical activity remain the cornerstones for controlling cholesterol levels, irrespective of your weight,” Dr Naik says. An appropriate treatment plan for high cholesterol includes medication for immediate control, as advised by your doctor, followed by a continued healthy diet plan and a suitable exercise regimen to keep cholesterol levels in control consistently.