About 80% of people in the U.S. have low to moderate cardiovascular health based on the American Heart Association's new Life's Essential 8™ checklist according to a new study published today in Circulation, the Association's flagship, peer-reviewed journal. Life's Essential 8™, also published today in Circulation, details the Association's updated guidance to measure cardiovascular health, adding healthy sleep as essential for ideal heart and brain health.
The Life's Essential 8™ metrics are incorporated into the Association's My Life Check tool to determine a cardiovascular health score based on eight essential components for ideal heart and brain health: diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, sleep duration, body mass index, blood lipids, blood glucose and blood pressure. It is an updated algorithm from the scientifically proven Life's Simple 7™, which did not include sleep heath. Life's Essential 8™ also updated some of the previous version's metrics to be more sensitive to differences among groups of people. In adults, overall cardiovascular health is calculated for each individual by summing the scores for each of the 8 metrics together and dividing the total by 8, to provide a Life's Essential 8™ score ranging from 0-100. Thus, the highest or healthiest cardiovascular health score possible is 100. Overall scores below 50 indicate "low" cardiovascular health, 50-79 is considered "moderate" and scores of 80 and above indicate "high" cardiovascular health.
According to this first study using Life's Essential 8™ as the measure for cardiovascular health, among more than 23,400 U.S. adults and children free of cardiovascular disease, the overall cardiovascular health of the U.S. population is well below ideal, with 80% of adults scoring at a low or moderate level. Researchers evaluated health information from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys in 2013-2018 that included more than 13,500 adults (ages 20-79 years) and nearly 9,900 children (ages 2 to 19 years).
The analysis found:
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