Warm weather has finally arrived, and so it is time to get walking and watch your intake of calories. Take advantage of locally grown fruits and veggies and eat lean protein such as fish and organic chicken. Getting to a body mass index in the normal range is important.

Body mass index is a number that is derived using an equation that takes into account your height and weight. The body mass index (BMI) is also tied to risk for disease. A body mass index between 25 and 30 is considered overweight. Thirty and over is considered to be obese. A woman who is 5\’2” and weighs 140 pounds has a BMI of 25.6 and would be considered overweight. If you want to calculate your BMI go to: www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi

You might be wondering if it really makes a difference? Can you still be fit and fat at the same time? A recent study that was done by Harvard researchers will tell you that weight does matter even if you exercise.

A study of almost 1000 women looked at activity and body mass index. When they compared active women (those who exercise at least 30 minutes daily), they found that the risk for heart disease in women, who were overweight with a BMI between 25 and 30, was over 50% higher when compared to normal weight women. When they compared inactive overweight women to active normal weight women, the risk for heart disease was 88% higher. So exercise does make a difference … but so does body weight.

The take-home message from this study is that regardless of your body mass index, exercise is important. It improves your fitness level and thus helps to protect you in part from heart disease. However, the best protection comes from both exercise and a healthy diet that will help you to maintain a body mass index in the normal range.

So, go out there, get walking and eat healthy!

Dr. Robin Miller's career as a physician has been quite varied. She currently serves as the medical director of Triune Integrative Medicine, a highly innovative Integrative Medicine clinic in Medford, Oregon. She is also a medical reporter for KOBI Channel 5, the NBC affiliate in Medford. She has produced the award-winning health series, “Is there a Doctor in the House,” which is shown on the GE-sponsored Patient Channel nationwide. She is a medical columnist for The Daily Courier in Grant's Pass, Oregon, and the host of a teen health podcast. Robin has written the book Kids Ask the Doctor and the book Confessions of the Soul Straight from the Heart.