A new study has said that people who met more of seven recommended cardiovascular health behaviours or factors had a lower risk of death compared to those who met fewer factors.
This is the finding of a study that included a nationally representative sample of nearly 45,000 adults.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recently published recommendations aimed at improving cardiovascular health and reducing deaths from CVD in the United States by encouraging the general population to meet seven defined ideal cardiovascular health behaviours or factors.
The metrics are not smoking; being physically active; having normal blood pressure, blood glucose and total cholesterol levels, and weight; and eating a healthy diet.
Quanhe Yang, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a study to examine the trends of these health metrics and estimated their associations with risk of all-cause and CVD mortality.
The study included 44,959 U.S. adults (age 20 years or older), using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1988-1994,1999-2004, and 2005-2010 and the NHANES III Linked Mortality File (through 2006).
The researchers found that regarding trends over the study period, the prevalence of current smoking continued to decline since 1988. However, the desirable level of untreated blood pressure and total cholesterol level remained unchanged, and the prevalence of desirable levels of body mass index (BMI) (less than 25) and fasting glucose continued to decline for the study period.
Few participants met all 7 cardiovascular health metrics (2.0 percent in 1988-1994, 1.2 percent in 2005-2010). Younger participants, women, non-Hispanic whites, and those with higher education levels tended to meet a greater number of cardiovascular health metrics.
The researchers found that meeting a greater number of cardiovascular health metrics was associated with a significantly lower risk of all-cause, CVD, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) mortality.
"During a median [midpoint] of 14.5 years of follow-up in the NHANES III Linked Mortality File cohort, participants who met 6 or more vs. 1 or fewer cardiovascular health metrics had a 51 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 76 percent lower risk of CVD mortality, and a 70 percent lower risk of IHD mortality. In addition, meeting a greater number of cardiovascular health metrics also appeared to be associated with lower risk for all-cancer mortality," the researchers said.
The researchers added that a significant interaction between cardiovascular health metrics and age group (less than 60 vs. 60 years or older) on CVD mortality suggested that meeting cardiovascular health metrics might offer greater protection against premature CVD deaths among younger participants.
"In summary, our findings indicate that the presence of a greater number of cardiovascular health metrics was associated with a graded and significantly lower risk of total and CVD mortality," the researchers stated.
The finding has been published online in JAMA to coincide with its presentation at a specialty meeting of the American Heart Association.