Obesity may raise your risk of developing heart problems, but Science Daily reports that it’s possible to lower those odds.

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, Imperial College London, and the University of Sydney reviewed 97 previous studies that involved 1.8 million participants from around the world.

They found that three metabolic factors, namely: blood pressure, serum cholesterol, and blood glucose, are responsible for half of the increased risk of obesity-related heart disease and three-quarters of the increased risk of obesity-related stroke. As such, they may also hold the key to lowering the said risks.

For overweight and obese individuals, this could mean anything from subscribing to a lifestyle change and focusing more on exercising to following a diet that’s right for you. Still, the pros far outweigh the cons.

“Controlling hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes will be an essential but partial and temporary response to the obesity epidemic,” study co-author Majid Ezzati says. “As we use these effective tools, we need to find creative approaches that can curb and reverse the global obesity epidemic.”

(Photo by Ronelle via Flickr Creative Commons)

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