According to a Cleveland Clinic survey, 88% of Americans understand the connection between a healthy heart and weight but aren’t doing enough to combat their own weight issues.
The survey found 74% are concerned about their weight and 65% are worried about getting heart disease due to extra weight, yet 43% of Americans have tried to make dietary changes to lose weight and 40% of those who describe themselves as overweight or obese say they are not careful about which foods they consume.
What did the Cleveland Clinic survey say?
According to the report, the possible problem may be that Americans aren’t sure what to eat to improve heart health.
Nearly one-in-five believe their diet has nothing to do with their heart health, and only 14% knew that a Mediterranean diet is the healthiest for heart health.
Moreover, nearly half of Americans (46%) believe using artificial sweeteners is a healthy way to lose weight despite studies showing they don’t promote weight loss.
The impact of excess weight on your heart
The survey also revealed that those involved in the study do not fully understand the impact excess weight has on their heart and overall health.
An overwhelming 87% of Americans fail to link obesity to cancer.
More than half of Americans also don’t know that obesity is linked to high ‘bad’ cholesterol levels (54%) or coronary artery disease (57%) and two-thirds (64%) don’t know it can lead to a stroke.
Steven Nissen, M.D., chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, USA, explains: “Most Americans understand abstractly that being overweight or obese is not good for your health, but it seems we are not grasping that the leading causes of death and disability – stroke, cancer, coronary artery disease – are all adversely affected by increased weight.”
“We need to do a better job of educating patients and the public about the major consequences of carrying excess weight and the benefits of losing weight. A patient only needs to lose five percent of their body weight to start seeing important health benefits.”
Increasing awareness of heart health
According to the CDC, nearly 40% of Americans, 93 million people, are obese, and even more are overweight.
“Americans may be correct that their metabolism is thwarting their weight loss efforts,” adds Nissen.
“Once you’ve been overweight, your body tries to hold on to that excess fat, making it more difficult to lose weight.
“It’s best to work with your physician to develop a steady long-term weight loss plan that will help you keep off the pounds. Quick weight loss programs are not effective.”
The survey was conducted as part of Cleveland Clinic’s “Love your Heart” consumer education campaign in celebration of American Heart Month.