Not Enough People Follow Heart-Healthy Habits

Less than 2% of Americans meet seven recommended heart health targets that could dramatically reduce their risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

The research shows that the number of people who follow all seven heart-healthy habits recommended by the American Heart Association, like eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and having normal blood pressure, has actually declined in recent years. Researchers found that the percentage of Americans who followed all of the health behaviors dropped from 2% in 1988-1994 to 1.2% in 2005-2010. The seven behaviors include:

    • Not smoking
    • Being physically active
    • Having normal blood pressure (under 120/80)
    • Healthy fasting blood-glucose levels (below 100)
    • Total cholesterol levels below 200
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    • Eating a healthy diet

People who met six of the seven goals had a 76% lower risk of heart-related death and a 51% lower risk of death from any cause, compared with those who met one or fewer. Not surprisingly, the results showed that the more heart-healthy goals people met, the lower their risk of heart disease and death. Meeting a higher number of the heart health targets was also associated with a lower risk of cancer.

Experts say the results suggest new public health policies are needed to help the majority of people who are at moderate risk of heart disease and encourage them to follow more heart-healthy habits.

Source: Web MD

Image: Healthy People