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Are you an apple or a pear? Why it matters.

This Week's Tip
Are you an apple or a pear? Why it matters.

Many people understand that there is a connection between poor diet, lack of exercise and the development of heart disease. But your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is the result of a combination of many risk factors, including your weight and body shape.

Whether or not you become overweight or obese is mostly within your control, but you cannot control your weight distribution, which refers to where your body stores fat. For years, experts warned that people who tend to carry excess weight in their belly area (known as "apple" shapes) are at a greater risk of several health problems, including heart disease, while "pear" shaped bodies that store more fat in the lower body don't face the same risk. However, one 2010 study published in The Lancet dispelled that idea, saying that being overweight (regardless of where your body stores the fat) is a heart disease risk factor. Your genetics determine your body type; if you are apple-shaped now, you will always be apple-shaped, even if you lose weight. Still, maintaining a healthy body weight, which would decrease your waist circumference, is a controllable risk factor that can reduce your heart disease risk. That's why it's so important to keep your weight—and your waist—in check.

Calculate Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio »

More Tips for Heart Health »
Heart Friendly Recipe
Whole Wheat Couscous with Spinach and Squash
A double-hitter: Each portion has almost two servings of vegetables.

See More Healthy Heart Recipes »
Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 6
 Amount Per Serving
 Calories: 228.3
Total Fat: 2.1 g
Cholesterol: 3.3 mg
Sodium: 117.6 mg
Total Carbs: 47.5 g
  Dietary Fiber: 10.4 g
Protein: 8.6 g
View full nutritional breakdown of Whole Wheat Couscous with Spinach and Squash by ingredient
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