Grace Newman, 48, is hitting the gym hard these days. At 5'2" and 178 pounds, she's the heaviest she's ever been.
"I have to lose the weight because every day going up and down the stairs you're just out of breath," she said.
Some studies have suggested being overweight or obese may be a benign condition if a person doesn't have problems like high cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes. Now, new research finds being healthy and overweight is just a myth.
"Being obese even in the absence of measurable risk factors is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events," said Dr. Robert Rosenson of Mount Sinai Hospital. "So there is something we're not able to measure, perhaps at the sub-cellular level or genetic level that is contributing to a higher risk."
Canadian researchers looked at studies published over the past 60 years and also found the rates of death, heart attack and stroke were higher for obese people.
With nearly 155 million adults overweight or obese in the U.S., doctors say it's critical to eat right and exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
Personal trainer Eli Ingram recommends easing into lifestyle changes.
"A lot of people start programs and fall off simply because they try to make too many changes all at once," Ingram said.
"I have set a goal for myself. I want to lose 25 pounds," Newman said.
She hopes to drop her extra weight in the next four months.
The study also found that people who had risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol had increased risk for heart disease or death, even if they were normal weight.