A new survey has found that eight out of 10 people between ages 25-44 years old think they are living a healthy lifestyle and are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors than 18-24 year olds.
The results are part of a survey of 1,248 Americans aged 18 to 44 on their attitudes about health, including influences of and beliefs about health behaviors and their risks for stroke.
"This survey shows the dangerous disconnect that many young Americans have about how their behaviors affect their risks for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases," said Ralph Sacco, a neurologist and president of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
"Starting healthy behaviors at a young age is critical to entering middle age in good shape. The investment you make in your health now will have a large payoff as you age. We want everyone - especially young people - to strive to avoid stroke, which can affect anyone at any age," he said.
Younger participants-age 18 to 24 - claimed that they want to live long and maintain quality health throughout their life. On average, they said they want to live to age 98.
Yet, one-third of those surveyed said they don't believe engaging in healthy behaviors now could affect their risk of stroke in the future and 18 percent could not identify at least one stroke risk factor.
"Young adults need to make a connection between healthy behaviors and a healthy brain and healthy heart," said Sacco.
"If we are not able to help young adults understand the relevance of their actions now and their risk of stroke tomorrow, then we could be looking at an increase in stroke diagnoses and deaths within the next 10 to 20 years," he said.
"Everyone should recognize the severity of stroke, which threatens quality of life and can be prevented. People need to think in terms of striving for ideal health as well as surviving and thriving if a stroke occurs. An easier way to remember this is: Strive, Survive and Thrive," he added.
Results from the survey also revealed that as people age, they become more aware of their overall health and risk factors for heart disease and stroke.