WASHINGTON - As the new year begins, many vow to take charge of their weight. Doctors say it's one of the best things anyone can do to improve health - and that's why it's one of the top 10 tips for a healthier you.
"Make it as a lifestyle change, not just a brief resolution change."
Internist Dr. Will Kimbrough with One Medical Group says people should gradually cut back on salt and sugar as well as add veggies and avoid processed food.
"If you can't pronounce an ingredient you might want to think about what you were willing to eat," he says.
And, don't get fixated on the scale.
"It's important to know how that weight is distributed," Kimbrough says.
Dr. Angela Marshall with Comprehensive Women's Health says a good indicator is waist size.
"Weight that is distributed around your waist is more dangerous than fat that may be on one's hips."
Cardiologist Dr. Warren Levy with Virginia Heart says knowing weight and height are important.
"Everyone should know their numbers. You should know your cholesterol, your total cholesterol, but more importantly your bad cholesterol - that's the LDL (low-density lipoprotein)," says Levy.
It's also a good idea to know blood pressure and blood sugar levels - that knowledge is power.
"It's becoming more and more important for patients to become advocates for their own health," says Marshall.
"This is especially important for women. It is also very important for certain minority groups."
WTOP's Paula Wolfson contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)