Optimal Heart Health – Are Americans Meeting the AHA Target?
The study by the University of Pittsburgh selected a cross-section of men and women in the 45-75 age bracket. The participants were given physical examinations, blood tests and surveys to meet the seven criteria below:
- Non-smoker for more than a year
- Meeting acceptable levels of regular physical activity (150 minutes of moderate intensity each week)
- Having a BMI of less than 25
- Eating a healthy diet as per AHA guidelines
- Having cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL (without medication)
- Maintaining blood pressure of 120/80 or less
- Showing fasting glucose levels of below 100 mg/dL
How do you measure up to these criteria?
Less than 10% of the study participants met even five of the seven criteria and only one person attained acceptable healthy levels in all seven fields. African Americans fared even worse with an 82% lower chance than those of European descent meeting five of the seven components.
The most common point of failure was in the body mass index, which calculates the body's mass taking into account both height and weight. Most of those who took part in the study were overweight and this in turn affected the other factors.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and the number of aneurysms has increased three-fold over the past 30 years. Despite health advice, 25% of Americans suffer from high blood pressure and an estimated 30% of those do not even know it. Obesity in children also continues to rise.
This deterioration of heart health is due to a change of lifestyle. There are less manual jobs and more administrative jobs meaning we are generally less active. Coupled with a reliance on cars rather than walking, this has seriously reduced the amount of exercise most people get in their day-to-day living. American foods have changed to include a greater consumption of fast food. Portions are larger and consequently more calories are being consumed, leading to an increase in weight.
These facts certainly show that as a nation America has very poor levels of heart health. The AHA's aim is to dramatically improve those statistics by 2020. Its new goal is to improve the heart health of all Americans by 20% and to reduce deaths by strokes and cardiovascular disease by a similar amount. The AHA sees its role as helping people to identify and adopt healthier lifestyles for both adults and children.
Checkout that list again and see how you measure up. Consider adding an Omeaga formula to your daily regimen. Above all, balance calories in with energy expended to achieve optimal heart health naturally.