U.S. Heart Health is Declining

heartU.S. cardiovascular health is headed in the wrong direction. A new study shows that more Americans are at risk for heart attacks and strokes today than was the case back in the late 80’s and most U.S.adults have poor cardiovascular health.

From U.S. News & World Report:

America’s heart health went from bad to worse between 1988 and 2014, a new report warns.

That means roughly 60 percent of whites, 75 percent of Mexican Americans and 85 percent of black Americans are going through life today with subpar heart health.

At first glance, the study seems to offer some good news: A long-standing gap in heart health between white and black Americans has narrowed. 

But, “this is due to worsening cardiovascular health among whites” and not to improvements for blacks and Mexican Americans, lead author Dr. Arleen Brown stressed.

According to Fox News, “People in the study got poor heart health scores with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, obesity, inactivity, smoking and a diet with limited fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Without most of these issues, people could achieve “optimal” heart health scores. Generally, the proportion of Americans with healthy eating and exercise habits who also had an ideal weight and well controlled blood sugar declined over time.”

MedPageToday.com added, “Between 1988 and 2014, the proportion of whites with optimal cardiovascular health decreased by over 15% (95% CI 11.1 to 19.4%) for those in the youngest group (age 25-44) and by 4.6% (CI 2.7 to 6.5%) for those 65 years or older.”

Recent evidence shows consistent reductions in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality for all racial/ethnic groups. However, our findings of suboptimal control of risk factors in the population as a whole and declines in cardiovascular health among whites and some younger adults may foreshadow higher rates of heart disease and stroke and poorer outcomes from these conditions in the coming decades,” Brown and colleagues wrote.

Researchers conducting the study looked at data collected from 1988 to 2014 from American adults aged 25 and older who had no history of cardiovascular disease. Reuters.com pointed out, “Even among the youngest people in the study, ranging in age from 25 to 44, the proportion of people with optimal heart health never exceeded 40 percent of whites, 25 percent of Mexican-Americans and 15 percent of African-Americans.”

“The cardiovascular health of the U.S. started out low and has fallen,” said Dr. Brown of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Take a look at the study and what the researchers found and let us know what you think. How can we change the trend of heart health in our country? Finding new solutions to the health problems we face is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!



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