If you're overweight and suffer from high blood pressure, first look to your waistline... but then look to the skies.

New research finds that smog -- already linked to a wide range of health problems -- contributes to high blood pressure in obese people.

Interesting? Yes. But from a practical point of view, you're not going to clean the skies -- so you're going to have to settle for shedding some pounds if you want to get health issues like hypertension under control for good.

The study, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at 919 Detroit-area households. People who lived in the smoggiest areas had the highest blood pressure no matter how much they weighed -- but the biggest impact was on those with the biggest bellies.

Unless you're able to pack up and move at will, though, the bottom line is still your waistline. Of the two factors in this study -- weight and pollution -- the only one completely within your control is your diet.

That means the answer for you is as clear as a smog-free day: Shed the pounds, and you'll be healthier. It won't just help you to control your blood pressure, but it will also help boost your immune system so that your body is better equipped to fight off the toxins lurking in that smog.

So sure, while smog has been linked to breathing conditions like asthma, heart disease, diabetes and now hypertension... obesity has been linked to all those things -- and so much more.

Losing all that weight is not as hard as it sounds, and certainly easier than scrubbing the skies. First, switch yourself over to a more sensible diet -- limit the empty carbs like sugar and white bread and learn to enjoy a wide range of healthy, natural foods.

Then, start jogging, dancing, jumping, hopping, skipping -- anything at all that gets you moving again, as long as you enjoy it. You don't need to torture yourself -- just get your blood pumping for 25 or 30 minutes a day.

That's all it takes. Follow those two steps and you'll be thinner and healthier -- and better able to handle not just the smog, but anything else life throws at you.