Just 3% of Americans Have 'Ideal' Heart Health
On the flip side, only 10% have 'poor' cardiovascular health
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2012 11:16 AM CST
Those who were 65 or older reported the lowest percentage of ideal heart health.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

(Newser) – How's this for a gloomy stat? Only 3% of Americans have "ideal" heart health, according to a new report from the American Heart Association. Using data collected on 350,000 Americans in 2009, it gathered info on seven major heart-health factors it identified: blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, BMI, diabetes, exercise, and fruit/veggie intake. Those who had optimal levels in all seven factors (defined, for instance, as getting at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, or eating at least five fruit/veggie servings a day) got the ideal rating—about 10,500 of those surveyed.

The AHA broke down its findings by state in an effort to help each one focus its cardiovascular efforts, reports NBC News. Washington, DC, came out on top, with 6.9% reporting ideal heart health, followed by Vermont (5.5%) and Virginia (5%). On the bottom: Oklahoma (1.2%) and West Virginia and Mississippi (both 1.5%). Somewhat encouragingly, only 10% overall reported having poor cardiovascular health, defined as having just zero to two factors at optimal levels. Click to learn your heart health score.

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
Dec 20, 2012 2:16 PM CST
Even if you're overweight, you can still have good cardiovascular health if you start exercising regularly. Being at the ideal weight is not the same as having a healthy heart (in fact, lots of naturally thin people who don't exercise can have unhealthy hearts too). My boyfriend's father and grandfather (on the mother's side) both had a heart attack under the age of 40, with the grandfather ultimately dying from another heart attack at 60. My boyfriend's fights against his odds by exercising almost everyday, at high intensity, and I love him for it. I love that he wants to live enough to take care of himself in such a way, and he ultimately became my inspiration to start exercising almost daily (since my mother suffered two strokes under 60). When I started exercising for health instead of trying to fit into a certain beauty standard, I found it much easier to stick with.
Dec 20, 2012 12:31 PM CST
Only seventy five minutes per week of exercise is suggested, and Americans can't even do that? Pathetic. Two dogs and I briskly hike around the foothills for at least an hour per day. It costs nothing. How people can live with the discomfort of blubber is beyond me. I would nail my mouth closed before I would live like that.
Dec 20, 2012 12:18 PM CST
I read this as I was eating a slice of pizza nicknamed "The Widow-Maker". I Thought it was kind of funny.