Abstract 13841: Prevalence of Ideal Cardiovascular Health in U.S. Children and Adolescents: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003-2008)
Background: The American Heart Association's 2020 Strategic Impact Goals define metrics for monitoring cardiovascular (CV) health in adolescents and children; however, prevalence estimates stratified by sex are unavailable.
Methods: We examined prevalence of the components of CV health in 5,547 individuals aged 12-19 yrs (representing approximately 33.1 million U.S. children) from the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Definitions for poor, intermediate and ideal CV health status were based on metrics outlined in the AHA 2020 Strategic Impact Goals.
Results: Results are shown in Figure 1. Ideal blood pressure was the most prevalent CV health component (males, 92.9%; females, 92.7%) whereas a dramatically low prevalence of ideal Healthy Diet Score was observed (males, 0.0%; females, 0.2%). Females exhibited significantly lower prevalence of ideal total cholesterol (63.0% vs.71.0%, respectively) and ideal physical activity levels, (37.1 vs. 51.9%, respectively) yet higher prevalence of ideal blood glucose (91.7 vs.79.0%, respectively) compared to males. Just over two thirds of males and females exhibited ideal body mass index (males, 65.0%; females, 66.7%) while higher proportions reported ideal smoking status (males, 76.7%; females, 78.6%). Zero adolescents were classified as having ideal levels of all 7 CV health components.
Conclusions: If ideal levels of CV risk are not maintained through early life, a tremendous preventive asset is lost. The alarmingly low prevalence of ideal CV health behaviors in U.S. adolescents - particularly inadequate physical activity and diets not consistent with practical recommendations for CV health - are likely to lead to worsening prevalence of obesity, hypercholesterolemia, and dysglycemia in adulthood. Nonetheless, these prevalence estimates represent a starting point from which the effectiveness of future programs targeting children and adolescents can be monitored and compared.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.