About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Massive Improvement Needed in America's Heart Health

by Kathy Jones on December 18, 2011 at 3:55 PM
Font : A-A+

 Massive Improvement Needed in America's Heart Health

Data in the American Heart Association's "Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update 2012," says that America's heart and blood vessel health is far from ideal. the report is published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The update provides insight into our less than ideal cardiovascular health. For example, obesity continues to be a major problem for many Americans. More than 67 percent of U.S. adults and 31.7 percent of children are overweight or obese. Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of obesity in children has increased from 4 percent to more than 20 percent.


The American Heart Association defines ideal cardiovascular health based on seven health factors: smoking status, weight, physical activity, healthy diet, cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting glucose levels, as well as the absence of a diagnosis of heart or blood vessel disease.

Based on that definition, the new data shows that 94 percent of U.S. adults have at least one and 38 percent have at least three of the seven factors at "poor" levels. Half of U.S. children 12 to 19 years old meet four or fewer criteria for ideal cardiovascular health.

Between 1971 and 2004, our average calorie consumption has increased by 22 percent in women (from 1,542 to 1,886 kcal/d) and by 10 percent in men (from 2,450 to 2,693 kcal/d). Many of these increased calories come from consuming more carbohydrates, particularly starches, refined grains and sugars; larger portion sizes and calories per meal as well as consuming more sugar-sweetened beverages, snacks, commercially prepared meals (especially fast food) and high-calorie foods.

Burning those calories is also an increasing challenge - 33 percent of adults engage in no aerobic leisure-time physical activity. Furthermore, in 2009, among adolescents in grades nine through 12, 29.9 percent of girls and 17 percent of boys had not engaged in 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity — the recommended amount for good health — even once in the previous seven days.

There is some good news in the update -- the death rate from cardiovascular diseases (CVD -- all diseases of the heart and blood vessels) fell 30.6 percent from 1998 to 2008, possibly due to better treatments for heart attacks, congestive heart failure and other acute conditions.

The stroke death rate fell 34.8 percent during that time period, dropping it from the third to the fourth leading cause of death. While the drop in ranking is mostly driven by decreases in the number of stroke deaths, likely due to better treatment options for acute stroke, reclassifying some respiratory diseases into one category also played a role.

For example, deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis and pneumonia are now grouped under the larger category, "respiratory diseases."

Unfortunately, other statistics in the update illustrate America's continued cardiovascular disease burden:
  • Cardiovascular diseases accounted for one in every three deaths in the United States in 2008; more than 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular diseases every day ― an average of one death every 39 seconds.
  • The cost of cardiovascular care and treatment increased over $11 billion from 2007 to 2008.
  • The direct and indirect cost of CVD and stroke in the United State for 2008 was an estimated $297.7 billion.

"By monitoring health, as well as disease, the update provides information essential to public health initiatives, patient care and for people to take personal responsibility for their health ― and for their lives," said Véronique L. Roger, M.D, M.P.H., lead author of the update and professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.

The American Heart Association has set a goal for America — to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020. "If we're to reach this goal, we'll need to engage every segment of the population to focus on improved health behaviors," said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., an author of the statistical update and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

"In particular, more children, adolescents and young adults will need to learn how to improve and preserve their ideal levels of health factors and health behaviors into older ages. Moving people who are at poor health to make small changes in their behavior and reach intermediate health is a step in the right direction that can make a big difference," said Lloyd-Jones.

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
January is the Thyroid Awareness Month in 2022
Menstrual Disorders
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Heart Healthy Heart Statins Mitral Valve Prolapse Aortic Valve Stenosis Fiber Up Your Meals Pericarditis 

Recommended Reading
Lifestyle Paths to Heart Disease
Heart disease can be of many types depending upon whether they involve the heart muscles or artery ...
Diet, Lifestyle and Heart Disease
The correlation between diet, lifestyle and heart disease. The importance of balanced diet life ......
Olive Oil and Its Benefits
The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties are responsible for the health benefits of olive ....
Heart Attack- Lifestyle risks
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Simple guidelines to ......
Aortic Valve Stenosis
Aortic valve Stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the c valve. Symptoms include angina, and that of ...
Fiber Up Your Meals
A high fiber diet and good water intake are essential for a stress free body. High-fiber foods preve...
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral Valve Prolapse is a relatively common condition and causes leakage of blood through the valve...
Pericarditis occurs when the pericardium gets inflamed. Pericarditis is characterized by severe ches...
Statins are new wonder drugs that are proving to be efficacious, not merely in relieving symptoms bu...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)