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Test your heart smarts!

Take this quiz to see what you know about eating to manage weight and live heart smart!

1. If you eat right and have a good family history, don't worry about heart disease if you're overweight.

Answer

False. Excess weight strains the heart and can adversely affect blood pressure and cholesterol. To get an idea of where you stand, check your body mass index (BMI). Although it shouldn't be used as a sole diagnostic tool, BMI is a good way to calculate health risk. Here's the formula: Multiply your weight in pounds by 705, divide by your height in inches, then divide again by your height in inches. For quick results, use the calculator at right. Having a BMI of 25 or higher puts a person at increased risk of heart disease.

2. In terms of associated health risks, all high BMIs are created equal.

Answer

False. Current research suggests that the shape of your body plays a role in determining health risk. You have an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance syndrome (metabolic syndrome) and certain cancers if your fat is primarily localized in your abdomen (apple-shaped) versus located in hips and thighs (pear-shaped). Women whose waist measures more than 35 inches or men with waists of more than 40 inches are thought to be at increased risk.

3. Controlling blood cholesterol is one way to control your risk of heart disease.

Answer

True. If you have high cholesterol, take action to reduce it. Healthy changes include: quitting smoking, losing weight if necessary, exercising regularly, and eating a diet low in total fat, saturated fat and trans fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Take medicine if recommended by your doctor. If you have diabetes, make sure you work with your physician to manage both your blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

4. Foods termed “reduced fat” are also low in fat.

Answer

False. The government defines a reduced-fat food as having at least 25 percent less fat than the original product. But that doesn't necessarily mean it is low in fat. A low-fat food is defined as having 3 grams of fat or less per serving. Read nutrition labels on all products and look for the fat content. No more than 30 percent of your total calories should come from fat, and no more than 10 percent from saturated fat.

5. Vegetable oils can be part of a cholesterol-lowering diet.

Answer

True. Canola, corn, olive, safflower, sesame, soybean and sunflower oils contain mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can aid in reducing blood cholesterol levels when consumed in combination with a low-fat diet. Don't substitute other oils such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oil, which contain more saturated fats and can increase the risk of heart disease. And whenever you use oil, use it sparingly. Instead of sautéing or frying foods, try baking, boiling, broiling, roasting or steaming.

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For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.

Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well­ being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.