Heart Health Across the Nation

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Researchers determined earlier this year that only about 1% of the United States population follows the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Simple 7 guidelines to improve their health. These guidelines include being active, controlling cholesterol, eating a healthy diet, managing blood pressure, losing weight, reducing blood sugar, and quitting smoking.  Even though most Americans knew that taking these steps would improve their health, they chose not to abide by these them to attain better health and a longer life. A new study analyzed 2009 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone survey of more than 350,000 people across the country. The goal was to evaluate how well Americans stuck to the tenets of Simple 7 on a state-by-state basis.

This new way of examining the data found that more than 3% of people follow all seven guidelines, and according to Jin Fang M.D., M.S. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the average American follows four or more of the simple seven rules. However, the results changed drastically from state to state. States in New England and the Western part of the country had the highest rates of heart health. Washington D.C. came in with the highest percentage of residents following all of the simple 7 guidelines, followed closely by Vermont and Connecticut. Oklahoma had the lowest rates in the nation. The American Hearth Association hopes to use these results, and the disparities found across race, age, education level, and sex to target programs to increase overall heart health and decrease deaths from heart disease and stroke by 2020.

Source courtesy of The Huffington Post. Image courtesy of DCCCD.

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