Just 1 in 5 Americans Have Optimal Heart Health: Here’s Why

A new study from the American Heart Association (AHA) finds only 20% of Americans have optimal heart health.

“I think what’s interesting and important about this study is it gives us a much more granular look at the components of cardiovascular health in the U.S. population, and how those differ by demographic groups across age, between men and women, across race/ethnic groups,” study leader and AHA president, Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, told Healthline.

For this study, researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 2013 to 2018.

They included non-pregnant, non-institutionalized individuals from 2 to 79 years old who had no cardiovascular disease.

All participants had an overall cardiovascular health (CVH) score calculated for them ranging from 0 to 100, and a score for diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, sleep duration, body mass index (BMI), blood lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure, using AHA definitions.

According to updated metrics, among over 23,400 American adults and children without cardiovascular disease (CVD), the overall cardiovascular health of the U.S. population is not ideal.

The research showed roughly 80% of people scored at a low or moderate level.

According to the AHA, they relied on “substantial new evidence” gathered over the last 12 years, to add new definitions and metrics for quantifying cardiovascular health (CVH).