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16-02-2011 | Cardiology | Article

‘Ideal CV health’ rare in middle-age


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MedWire News: Less than 1% of middle-aged individuals have "ideal cardiovascular (CV) health", as defined by the American Heart Association (AHA), according to results from a community-based US study.

Only 0.1% of 1933 study participants (mean age 59 years) met all seven components of the AHA's 2020 Impact Goal definition of ideal CV health, which includes four health behaviours (non-smoking, body mass index <25 kg/m2, physical exercise at goal level, and a diet in keeping with guideline recommendations).

The definition also includes three ideal health factors; untreated total cholesterol below 200 mg/dl, untreated blood pressure below 120/80 mmHg, and untreated fasting blood glucose below 100 mg/dl.

The ideal CV health goals were set by the AHA in January 2010 with the aim of achieving a 20% reduction in the rate of CV disease-related death in the US by 2020.

However, Steven Reis (University of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia) and team report in the journal Circulation, that the US population may have a long way to go to achieve these goals. Indeed, only 2.0% and 1.4% of the study participants had all ideal health behaviours and ideal health factors, respectively.

The researchers found that when the findings were adjusted for confounders, such as gender and age, Black participants (44% of all participants) were 82% less likely to achieve at least five components of ideal CV health compared with White participants (p<0.001).

Age and income were also associated with likelihood of attaining five or more ideal CV health components, although this association was negative for the former and positive for the latter.

In a related editorial, Clyde Yancy (Northwestern University, Chicago Illinois) commended the AHA's attempts to reduce CV disease rates through goal-setting. He said: "We shouldn't rest on our laurels, given that the combination of heart disease and stroke remain the leading cause of death [in the US]."

He added: "Clearly, there is much work to be done, but we can and should address this goal."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Lauretta Ihonor

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