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How Healthy Are You? 13 Instant, Easy Health Checks

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Are You Overweight?

6. Record How Much Weight You've Gained Since High School

If it's more than 11 pounds, aim to shed that amount; this will go a long way toward improving your health and lowering your chances for disease. "Studies show an increased risk of the most common cancers if you've gained more than that," says Melanie Polk, RD, a nutrition consultant for the American Institute for Cancer Research. In fact, according to a study from the American Cancer Society, women who gained more than 20 pounds after age 18 had a 40 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women who'd stayed within five pounds of their teenage weight. Conversely, losing weight reduces your overall risk for cancer. To keep weight off, join a structured weight-loss program, whether it's face-to-face counseling or online. A recent Brown University study found that people who followed these programs were able to lose weight and stave off regain more effectively than dieters whose only treatment was monthly newsletters.

7. Track Your Toxic Fat

Lie down on your back and tense your abdomen, preferably in the morning before you've eaten breakfast. "If your stomach is flat you're in good shape, but if you see any sort of a pooch that makes you look pregnant, you probably have too much visceral fat, a type of inner abdominal fat that builds up around the organs like your liver and kidneys," says Pamela Peeke, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Body for Life for Women (Rodale Books, 2005). "I've dubbed this 'toxic fat' because it's been linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, even if you're thin." The best way to beat this sort of bulge? A combination of healthy eating and exercise. A recent Duke University study found that women who engaged in vigorous activity (the equivalent of jogging 20 miles a week) lost 7 percent of their visceral fat after eight months compared with sedentary subjects, whose belly fat rose by nearly 9 percent.

8. Measure Your Waist

It should be no more than 32 inches; recent research from the Medical College of Wisconsin has found that women with waists smaller than that have the lowest risk of heart disease. "We now think that your waist size may be an even better predictor of your heart disease risk than what you weigh," says Dr. Goldberg. The reason: Women who are "apple-shaped" (larger around the middle) tend to have higher cholesterol levels and are more likely to be glucose intolerant, and both conditions increase your chances of cardiovascular disease. If you've got a wide waistline, you're already at risk, so see your doctor to get your cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels tested. You'll also need to start dieting and exercising. Consider eating more low-fat dairy foods like yogurt: A University of Tennessee study found that women who were regular yogurt eaters lost 81 percent more fat around their middle than those who avoided it.

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copayextra wrote:

my temp is never 98.6 it is usually higher. but i exercise so maybe this is common. the others have never heard of but i may try them just to guage how healthy i am

4/13/2011 03:35:29 PM Report Abuse
julie-tallman wrote:

In high school (age 18) I graduated at 5'5" and maybe 100 pounds. Over the next two years I grew two inches and climed to 125. Would I be happy at 136? Sure, and today at age 50 and 150 pounds that's an attainable goal. But this advice . . . only 11 pounds over high school is dangerously inaccurate and makes me suspicious of the other health advice you offer.

1/28/2011 08:39:48 AM Report Abuse
ellenw1117835 wrote:

A lot of teenagers are underweight (or at least they were in the 70s) What if I was an underweight teen?

1/27/2011 10:29:50 AM Report Abuse
erica.kraft wrote:

Regarding your BBT.. Read More http://www.ivillage.com/bbt-how-does-it-change-throughout-cycle/6-n-145382#ixzz1CFdMKDq1 I am very disappointed that Women's Fitness would put out such FALSE information regarding your BBT's.

1/27/2011 09:50:02 AM Report Abuse
erica.kraft wrote:

Don't think that if you temp is below 98.6 that you have a thyroid issue... that IS FLASE! "The average BBT is 97.48F plus or minus 0.25 during the phase prior to ovulation (follicular phase) and 98.09F plus or minus 0.22 in the phase following ovulation (luteal phase). If conception occurs, the temperature stays at the elevated level and never goes down."

1/27/2011 09:49:46 AM Report Abuse

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