According to a new study published today in Circulation, the American Heart Association's premier peer-reviewed journal, 80% of Americans have low to moderate cardiovascular health based on the Association's new Life's Essential 8TM assessment.
The Association’s updated guidelines for measuring cardiovascular health are detailed in Life’s Essential 8TM, which was also released today in Circulation. The Association has added adequate sleep as a prerequisite for optimal heart and brain health.
The My Life Check tool from the Association uses the Life’s Essential 8TM metrics to calculate a cardiovascular health score based on the following eight factors: food, physical activity, nicotine exposure, amount of sleep, body mass index, blood lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure. The Life’s Simple 7TM formula, which has been supported by science, was upgraded to include sleep health. Some of the measures from the earlier version were also revised by Life’s Essential 8TM to be more perceptive to variations among demographic groupings.
The Life’s Essential 8TM score, which ranges from 0-100, is used to determine an adult’s overall cardiovascular health by adding the results from each of the 8 measures together and dividing the total by 8. As a result, a score of 100 represents the best cardiovascular health imaginable. Cardiovascular health is deemed to be “low” if the overall score is less than 50, “moderate” if the overall score is 50 to 79, and “high” if the overall score is 80 or higher.
The analysis found:
- Although Life’s Essential 8TM and Life’s Simple 7TM are complementary, Life’s Essential 8TM proved more sensitive to variations in cardiovascular health between groups of people and between individuals. According to Life’s Essential 8TM, the average cardiovascular health score for Americans was 64.7 for adults and 65.5 for kids. The children’s average took into account age-based adjustments for BMI, physical activity, and food parameters for kids aged 2 to 19.
- On Life’s Essential 8TM, only 0.45% of adults got a perfect score.
- Adults in the US had cardiovascular health scores of 19.6% high, 62.5% moderate, and 17.9% low.
- When compared to men, who scored 62.5, adult women had an average cardiovascular health score of 67.
- Americans’ scores in the categories of food, physical activity, and BMI were generally the lowest. At later ages, cardiovascular health scores were often lower.
- Compared to other racial/ethnic groupings, people who are Non-Hispanic Asian Americans had a higher average cardiovascular health score. The average cardiovascular health score among Non-Hispanic White people was second highest, followed by Mexican, Hispanic (other than Mexican), and Non-Hispanic Black people.
- The average score for children‘s diets was a poor 40.6.
- The cardiovascular health ratings for food, nicotine exposure, blood sugar, and blood pressure varied significantly across adult sociodemographic categories.
The overall cardiovascular health of the U.S. population is significantly below ideal, with 80% of adults scoring at a low or moderate level, according to the first study using Life’s Essential 8TM as the measure for cardiovascular health, which included more than 23,400 adults and children free of cardiovascular disease. More than 13,500 adults (aged 20 to 79) and roughly 9,900 children participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys between 2013 and 2018. (ages 2 to 19 years).