American Heart Association's Heart Health Guidelines: How Heart Healthy Are You?
Posted Jun 08 2011 12:00am
Cardiovascular disease accounts for more than one third of all deaths in the U.S. each year. Death rates alone are a clear sign of a country in crisis, but combine that with the staggering cost of care and it’s evident we have a problem on our hands.
In 2010, the combined direct and indirect national cost of heart disease was $316.4 billion dollars. Although this number might seem astonishing, our nutritional behaviors paired with increasingly sedentary lifestyles have brought us to a truly sickening place of spending.
Circulationmagazine recently featured a disturbing study highlighting the ill health of our nation's individuals. Researchers found that less than 1% of a middle-aged, American participant pool met the criteria for ideal heart health.
The 7 components of ideal heart health according to the American Heart Association are:
2. Healthy diet
3. 150 weekly minutes of moderate activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity)
4. BMI greater than 18.5 but less than 25
5. Cholesterol less than 200 (without medication)
6. BP less than 120/80
7. Fasting glucose less than 100
In a group of almost 2,000, just a single person met 7 out of 7 benchmarks for heart health.
Extrapolating from the data, researchers concluded that the prevalence of ideal cardiovascular health in the United States is extremely low (far below what many of us had assumed) and a cause for concern. To minimize risk factors and increase overall health scores, comprehensive individual and population-based interventions are not just a privilege, but a necessity.
The health and wellbeing of a company relies on the health and wellbeing of its employees. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your company is the exception rather than the rule. Launching a comprehensive wellness program or a biometric screening event can alert an employer to a pattern of health issues within the workforce. This can quickly lead to optimal prevention techniques and proper management of the conditions. Many who qualify as low-risk individuals adhere to basic healthy guidelines that, when properly implemented, can have a significant and positive effect on cardiovascular health in anyone.
For most Americans, heart disease is a preventable condition. Everyone can benefit from embracing healthier behaviors - and the workplace is a great place to start.