Most Americans Don’t Have Optimal Heart Health, Study Says

PHeart health conditions are rare in the US — and increasingly uncommon. A new one research published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that less than 7% of all adults in the US are in optimal health across five key areas related to heart and metabolic health: weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood pressure. cardiovascular disease status. And the problem is getting worse.

These five categories are adjusted according to the American Heart Association’s definition of Ideal cardiovascular and metabolic health. The study, which analyzed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from more than 55,000 people over the age of 20, found that most Americans have at least one cardiometabolic risk factor — conditions like overweight and have ever had a heart attack, heart failure or stroke, which increased risk of problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The researchers also found that cardiovascular health continued to decline over time. (The surveys included in the study were conducted every year 1999-2000 between 2017 and 2018.) Researchers identified two major factors driving this decline: an increase in the proportion of overweight people. overweight or obesity, along with an increase in blood glucose levels in the population. The most recent data included in the study found that less than a quarter of Americans had a normal body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference – down from 34% – while only 37% had healthy blood sugar levels. strong, down from 59%.

Another major concern is that risk is not evenly distributed across the entire population. While the number of Caucasian adults in optimal cardiovascular metabolic health increased slightly over time, it decreased somewhat in other races. And overall, Americans who are male, Black, Mexican-American, or older are less likely to have optimal cardiovascular metabolic health than people with other demographics. Education status also seems to be a factor. For example, only 5% of U.S. adults with a lower education have optimal cardiovascular metabolic health, compared with 10% of those with a higher education.

“We were certainly surprised at the extent of the problem,” said Meghan O’Hearn, a doctoral candidate at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and co-author of the study. . “It’s a pretty bad situation, and it’s only gotten worse over the last 20 years.”

While their findings are disturbing, O’Hearn stresses that they should be a “call to action” for policymakers who can improve access healthy food through the expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, reallocating subsidies and agricultural incentives to groups producing more nutritious options and prioritizing health education, she said.

Individuals can also improve their cardiovascular metabolic health by eating one balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, legumes and healthy fats, and become more physically active, says O’Hearn. The American Heart Association also offers a checklist of behaviors important for optimal health; in June, the team added enough sleep — 7 to 9 hours a night — to the list for the first time.

Improving cardiometabolic health is physically and even financially worthwhile, since the United States spends billions of dollars annually in diet-related health care costs and billions of dollars lost workforce productivity each year. However, for the individual, the value is priceless: the opportunity to have a longer life from chronic illness.

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