Glossary

biomedical risk factors: Bodily states than can contribute to the development of chronic disease.

body mass index: The most commonly used method of assessing whether a person is normal weight, underweight, overweight or obese. It is calculated by dividing the person's weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared; that is, kg ÷ m2. For both men and women, underweight is a BMI below 18.5, acceptable weight is from 18.5 to less than 25, overweight is from 25 to less than 30, and obese is 30 and over. Sometimes overweight and obese is combined, and is defined as a BMI of 25 and over.

cholesterol: Fatty substance produced by the liver and carried by the blood to supply the rest of the body. Its natural function is to supply material for cell walls and for steroid hormones, but if levels in the blood become too high this can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

chronic diseases: A diverse group of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, which tend to be long-lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases (infectious diseases), the term is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.

dyslipidaemia: Abnormal levels of fats, such as cholesterol or triglycerides, in the blood.

high blood pressure/hypertension: The definition of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can vary but a well-accepted one is from the World Health Organization: a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more, or [the person is] receiving medication for high blood pressure.

impaired glucose tolerance: Condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but less than required for a diagnosis of diabetes, and which signals an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

lipids: Fatty substances, including cholesterol and triglycerides, that are in blood and body tissues.

obesity: Marked degree of overweight, defined for population studies as a body mass index of 30 or over.

overweight: Defined for the purpose of population studies as a body mass index of 25 or over.

triglyceride: A compound made up of a single molecule of glycerol and three molecules of fatty acid. Triglycerides are the main constituents of natural fats and oils.