Empiric Support for Cardiovascular Health: The Case Gets Even Stronger
Recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) adopted a new and ambitious strategic goal - "by 2020, to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease by 20%"1. In the process, it defined a new concept, cardiovascular health, which is comprised of 7 components: 4 ideal health behaviors (nonsmoking, body mass index < 25 kg/m2, physical activity at goal levels, and a diet consistent with current recommendations) together with 3 ideal health factors (untreated total cholesterol < 200mg/dL, untreated blood pressure <120/<80 mm Hg, and fasting blood glucose<100 mg/dL). This new approach emphasizes prevention with a focus on achieving and sustaining desirable behaviors. At the time of the AHA report, the health benefits of each of the 7 individual components were well-supported by available literature. A few studies had also defined the relationship of clusters of ideal levels of risk factors and behaviors and had assessed their relationship with health outcomes, quality of life, and cost2-6. Specifically, Stamler defined low cardiovascular risk as a cluster of optimal levels of traditional cardiovascular risk factors,3 while Stampfer defined a cluster of ideal lifestyle behaviors4.Yet, in 2010, when the AHA published its 2020 strategic goal, there was no available research on the new metric, cardiovascular health. In this issue of Circulation, two papers address this gap and provide complementary data related to cardiovascular health, or at least a forme fruste. (SELECT FULL TEXT TO CONTINUE)
- Received January 18, 2012.
- Accepted January 23, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012, American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited