New study shows that optimal heart health is found in just 7% of Americans
According to a recent research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, optimal heart health across five major areas in relation to heart and metabolic health only exist in less than 7% of the United States population. Unfortunately, it’s not getting any better.
The optimal heart health study examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected on more than 55,000 adults over the age of 20. Most Americans have at least one cardiometabolic risk factor, which includes conditions such as being overweight, having a heart attack, heart failure, or a stroke. These conditions increase the risk of issues like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. The study examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected on more than 55,000 adults over the age of 20.
It was found that the cardiometabolic health of people continues to deteriorate with time. The number of overweight or obese people have increased, and the population’s blood glucose levels have also increased, two key reasons that are contributing to this decline. According to the study’s most current statistics, only 37% of Americans had healthy glucose levels, which was down from 59%, and fewer than a quarter had a normal body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.
“We were definitely surprised by the magnitude of the problem,” said Meghan O’Hearn, a doctoral candidate at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, who co-authored the optimal heart health research. “That’s a pretty dismal situation, and it’s only gotten worse over the last 20 years.”
Another concern was how the study showed Americans who are male, Mexican American, or Black are often less likely to have good cardiometabolic health. The level of education also seemed to be a factor. For instance, just 5% of American adults with lower levels of education had excellent cardiometabolic health, compared to 10% of those with greater levels of education.
According to O’Hearn, eating a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, along with engaging in physical activities can help people enhance their cardiometabolic health. The American Heart Association also provides a checklist of actions necessary for maintaining good, optimal heart health.